Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Cecil N Graham Sawyers charged in sex for heroin plot Group demands changes at ELSD Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann Kids enjoy a ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event in Mt. Orab New police chief takes over in Fayetteville BC Chamber moving forward on 2017 SummerFest Two killed in wrong way crash in Mt. Orab Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Women return to county jail as funds start to run low Georgetown Council takes action on vacant structures Veterans honored in Mt. Orab John McGee Timmy Burson Patricia A London Mary J Hall Kenneth R Behymer Western Brown’s Joe Sams commits to Marietta College WBHS to hold girls youth basketball camp Huseman signs with UC Clermont Day to continue baseball career on collegiate level at UC Clermont Western’s Pack signs with NKU WBHS to host youth boys basketball camp Eastern’s Rigdon, Hopkins are STATE BOUND James Ratliff Robert P Lesko Armstrong sentenced to twenty years on child porn possession charges Russellville hires new Village Clerk Russellville Council approves purchase of two ambulances

Treat drug epidemic like a public health crisis, not a criminal witch-hunt

I’m not much of a column writer, but when something piques my interests I like to sound off on a topic, so here it goes. Love him or hate him the President of the United States issued his final State of Union Address this past week. I found the most interesting part to be that he called for help in solving the heroin and prescription pain killer epidemic. Rarely does a President mention something people often try to sweep under the rug as part of their speech to address the entire nation. I think it’s time that we as a country start treating heroin and pain killer abuse as a public health crisis and get the problem under control.

The last major public health crisis that comes to mind for me was in the 1980s when HIV/AIDS swept through the nation. Initially those who contracted the disease were treated poorly, called derogatory names, and treated as if they were the victim of their own action and not face it as a public health issue. Then it all changed when the virus spread to people not associated with the derogatory name and into communities where it had not been a problem before and we did something about it. We treated it like a public health crisis and have helped curb the spread of HIV/AIDS and helped those who live with the disease live longer, normal lives. Three pills a day is all it takes now to help someone with HIV/AIDS live a normal life. I think it’s fine time to do the same for those who struggle with addiction.

Looking at this county alone, I would venture to say 80 to 90 percent of all crimes are a result directly or indirectly from drug use. People end up behind bars for possession of substances, possession needles, having chemicals to manufacture meth or everything in between. Then we have another large population of those behind bars who are in jail for property crimes and theft. Each and every week I read through the indictments from the Grand Jury and get sick to my stomach at the number of people with multiple thefts and burglaries followed by a final count of an indictment that includes trafficking in heroin or possession of chemicals for assembly/manufacturing of drugs.

I don’t think the answer is to lock non-violent people in cages with violent criminals and hope they come out ‘cured’ of their drug use. That seems a bit ridiculous. Jails are overcrowded with petty drug criminals and it leaves little to no room for violent offenders. I am a firm believer that no one starts using drugs because they say to themselves, “Hey, I’d like to shoot some heroin.” Drugs are an effect, not a cause. I think expanding care for mental health and wellness is a start. I think ending the stigma attached with mental health and wellness is a better start than even expanding the care.

We have a public health crisis, not a drug problem. Until we as a group of people address it like one, we will continue to pour money into fighting something not worth fighting. It doesn’t matter how many users, abusers, and traffickers we take off the streets because a new person with the same or better product is ready to step in and take their spot.

Let us start fighting the problem at the core through health and wellness and not through county jails and prisons.

Brian Durham
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_DSC_90421.jpgBrian Durham

By Brian Durham

bdurham@civitasmedia.com

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2016 News Democrat