It is a fact that increases in population result in more crime. It has happened in Franklin County. It’s probably true that increases in population also mean more illegal drug use and more people are saved from overdose deaths by Narcan.

In the weekend issue of this newspaper, there was a news story that this year to date more people have died from drug overdoses than from vehicle accidents.

In this issue of The Missourian, readers will find a report that says that in the last six months, first responders in Franklin County have saved the lives of 139 people who overdosed on drugs.

It would be interesting to know how many of the people whose lives were saved by Narcan turned to drugs again after almost dying, and who would have expired if first responders had not been on the scene quickly.

One would think that being that close to death would have turned them away from drugs. But as a realist, we know some people are addicted to the point where they can’t live without drugs.

We have often thought about the reasons why people turn to drugs. A simple answer is that it is an escape from their state of life. There undoubtedly are a host of other reasons, such as peer pressure, an unhappy incident that they couldn’t deal with, relief from pain, and undoubtedly many other reasons.

ne of the most serious collateral damages from the use of drugs is the effect it has on children of drug addicts. We all know druggies steal when they run out of money to buy drugs, and commit other crimes. When there were regular meth busts in the county, often children, some infants, would be found in those homes. The children were taken from their drug-infested homes and put in foster care. Some never leave foster care until they become adults. Some, of course, have medical problems due to their parents’ use of opioids.

There are no records we have heard of as to how many of these children from foster homes, regardless of how good the care is, become drug addicts. Perhaps the number is low.

Many businesses and industries have had employees who have had applicants who tested positive for drug use, and they were not hired. They also have had employees who had to be fired because of drug use. The Missourian has had several instances of problems resulting from employees who used drugs some time after they were  hired. The Missourian did test for drugs, discontinued it for a period, but now has returned to drug testing when hiring new applicants.

One employee who had been with us several years turned to drugs. He said one dose of meth had him hooked. He was a truck driver who began to get lost and was late with deliveries. He was fired, was picked up for drug use, was sentenced to drug court, graduated and came by one day to apologize for his actions. We lost track of him. He didn’t ask for his job back. We hope he is drug free.

We had another young man, who was not tested prior to employment, from out of state, who applied for a job and was hired. He was a very polite and clean-cut young man. Some associates began to notice some signs of possible drug use. One weekend, he broke into our printing plant, pried open a locked desk drawer, took money from a petty cash container, and other stolen items included computers. The police were notified, the computers were traced to a pawn shop in St. Louis. He was on drugs and took the items to buy more opioids. He was arrested and the last we heard about him was that he returned to his home city in another state.

The damage drug addicts do to their families usually is lasting. They never get over it. Druggies also damage society in many ways. The cost to society is high. There is more crime. The added resources to fight drug use and crimes resulting from it eat up our tax dollars, along with the cost to operate our jails and prisons.

The drug supply must be cut off. More resources also must be used for education, especially teaching young children the evils of opioid use.