Resources have been poured into the battle against illegal drugs and the tragedies that result from them. Yet the battle is being lost. It is one of the most serious problems facing our country.
Circuit Judge Gael Wood in an interview with The Missourian, which was published in the weekend issue, called heroin in Franklin County a “cancer.” He explained the toll it is taking on human lives in the county and the drain on resources to fight it.
What Judge Wood said undoubtedly is true in most counties in the United States. It is a municipal, county, state and federal menace.
While this country is at war with the drug epidemic, we are going to have to do more — use more of our resources in the fight. Leadership is going to have to come from the federal government. The flow of drugs into the country from other countries, chiefly Mexico, has to be stopped. A strategy must be developed to halt the drug traffic. The sources of the drugs have to be eliminated. Drastic action must be taken.
Since there is such a demand for drugs, money is in the picture, and that motivates the sellers, who are smart, organized and have the forces to deliver the drugs.
Law enforcement is doing all it can with the resources at hand to combat the drug epidemic. Proof of that is the number of cases in our courts that involve drug violations. Our county jails and state prisons are full of drug violators. In 13 years, there has been a 238 percent increase in our judicial district in drug cases filed. That’s alarming!
At every level we have to stop the supply in Franklin County, St. Louis and in the state of Missouri and the U.S.,” Judge Wood said. To do that it is going to take the federal and state governments to take the lead in an organized countrywide attack to help local law enforcement officers to combat the supply lines.
This past Monday, Judge Wood said he had 97 cases on the public defender’s docket and 37 percent were drug cases. That’s the usual rather than being the unusual!
One day last week, there were 126 inmates in the county jail in Union. About 50 of those inmates were being held on drug charges. Our jail was built for 107 inmates. The county commission has engaged a firm to study jail needs and to make recommendations as to the solution. It’s apparent we need more jail cells, which means a construction project. The taxpayers will have to pay for it. The numbers tell us we would not have this jail problem if it were not for the drug scene in the county.
Taxpayers should be outraged!
There are many reasons people turn to drugs. One is that they feel they need a “lift” from their state of life. Others, especially the young, it’s peer pressure. Others become dependent on legal pain killers, and the next move is to turn to illegal drugs. The reasons we have so many addicts could be explained better by those officials close to the drug scene.
Society today has much different attitudes than decades ago. We remember while in the Army and overseas, most of the troops looked upon drug users as the lowest of “lowlifes.” Attitudes have changed, and not for the better.
The number of drug overdose cases in this area and nationwide is alarming. It’s getting worse. They can be revived. We wonder how many go back to drugs even after they were that close to death from an overdose.
Education about the evils of drugs undoubtedly has helped, but are we doing enough to reach our young?
A few battles in this war are being won, but will there ever be a total victory? There is a growing number of people who believe the resources we are expending to help other nations should be used at home to take care of the evils of our society.