Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Even safe communities face difficult drug worries

8/8/2014

So much can change in a day or a string of days if law enforcement officials and the public aren’t vigilant in every aspect of life — especially in the fight against elicit drugs like methamphetamine.

Ottawans should be proud of their community for being named one of the top five safest Kansas cities with a more than-10,000 population, as ranked by a real estate blog looking at a number of crime factors. Community members, however, also need to consider how quickly things can change because of the desperation of some people using drugs or involved with drug trafficking. Addiction to meth, in particular, drives people to do crazy things. They’ll commit property crimes, rob, steal and more to acquire money to obtain more drugs.

So much can change in a day or a string of days if law enforcement officials and the public aren’t vigilant in every aspect of life — especially in the fight against elicit drugs like methamphetamine.

Ottawans should be proud of their community for being named one of the top five safest Kansas cities with a more than-10,000 population, as ranked by a real estate blog looking at a number of crime factors. Community members, however, also need to consider how quickly things can change because of the desperation of some people using drugs or involved with drug trafficking. Addiction to meth, in particular, drives people to do crazy things. They’ll commit property crimes, rob, steal and more to acquire money to obtain more drugs.

That desperation ultimately touches everyone in the community in one way or another, whether it is through higher taxes to pay for law enforcement and jails; children in our schools whose education takes a back seat to dealing with problems caused at home by drug-abusing parents; or even when medical costs rise from the local hospital having to treat people for maladies related to drug abuse and then the hospital and other medical providers not being paid for that care.

Sadly, meth use can stunt the growth of a community’s people and sometimes comes with a cycle of abuse within families that is difficult to escape. This isn’t just a problem for law enforcement, schools or medical providers to solve. It is up to all of us.

Two organizations serving Ottawa — Recovery Service Center, 109 W. 2nd St., and the Elizabeth Layton Center for Hope and Guidance, 2537 Eisenhower Road — provide help with substance abuse issues, such as meth use, but they can’t do it alone either.

The public needs to speak up about meth and discuss ways to eradicate it from our community. Meth users need to be identified and helped to overcome their addictions because they unlikely will be able to do so on their own. The scourge of meth use and the subsequent crimes it fosters damages many aspects of our community — including its residents’ safety.

Jeanny Sharp,

editor and publisher

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