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Front Page » March 16, 2004 » Opinion » Whose problem is this whole drug thing, anyway?
Published 3,810 days ago

Whose problem is this whole drug thing, anyway?


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate reporter

Most of us get so many requests from someone who wants something from us that any new ideas on more things to contribute to or care about either grate on us or we are so numb to them that we don't hear them anymore. That has resulted in a public that many see as apathetic, but I think apathy is the wrong word. I think the word should be "inundated." People have such busy lives, and so much in their own lives to worry about that while most average citizens really do care about others, they seldom do much about what they hear or see presented to them unless it directly affects them.

In the past few weeks I have been involved in a series of meetings involving the setting up of a new system to handle drug offenders who really have a desire to get themselves straight. But understand that many who have drug problems in our society are like the small child in your house who does things he isn't suppose to, and then when he gets caught you find he really just needed your attention and help to change his ways. In some ways the term "I couldn't help myself" appies to these individuals; once siarted down the path of drugs, particularly in the realm of methamphetamines, it is almost impossible for them to dig themselves out of the hole it causes in their lives and personalities.

The Carbon Drug Coalition has been set up to get the general public to realize how big a problem drugs are in our county and yes, it is also another plea to you, the common citizen, to help.

But the kind of interest and commitment it will take is different than someone asking you to decorate a float for the St. Patricks Day parade or to spend a few hours working as a volunteer maning an information booth at International Days. This commitment will be a lifetime, 24 hour a day, time and action donation. It means vigilance and it means continued education.

So why should you become involved? Simply put, because this is important to you and everything you know.

Sometimes it is easy to sit back and see things as someone else's problem, and if we couldn't do that about some things we'd all go nuts. A lot of us tend to do that about drug problems in our community; it's someone else's problem or someone else's kid's problem. But the cost to all of us, both now and in the future is so high that we can't ignore it anymore.

What are those costs? They are expensive, both in human suffering and dollars.

I had the experience of sitting in the middle of a bunch of young women during a Carbon County Commission meeting a couple of months ago as they told their stories about being on drugs, losing their kids because of it and how they have had to struggle to get back on their feet. Some told of getting their kids back after fighting the addiction, others were still trying to convince officials they should get them back. Most still faced black days of avoiding the addiction that still stalks them and will for the rest of their lives. I had tears in my eyes listening to their stories of struggle with a very hard sparing partner, and sadly these are not isolated cases. People like this live down the street, next door and sometimes in your own house and you don't even realize it.

But if you can't relate to that cost, then relate to this one. Most of the property crime in this county is caused by drugs. There's a good chance that if someone stole that lawnmower out of your gardening shed a couple of summers ago or those CD's off the seat of your car when you left it unlocked to go into the store last week, they did it because they needed money for drugs. Bpt that's just small stuff compared to how much money police departments, social services and even the schools in our area spend to deal with the problem. When it comes down to it, millions of dollars of tax money are lost each year because of it. Instead of that money being spent on things that would benefit the community, it is being spent on something that benefits none of us at all. This truly is my problem, my neighbors problem and your problem. And it's time we all woke up to it.

You may not have made the choice to introduce meth into your body, but you are paying for it just as if you had. So whose problem is it anyway?


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March 16, 2004
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