FAYETTE COUNTY - State level officials agreed that the drug problem is getting worse. In the second part of the "Kicking Our Fix" series Newswatch spoke with government and law enforcement officials from the Southern part of the state to find out more.
State level officials are a step closer to the folks at home when it comes to transforming local concerns into actions. Senator William Laird and Sherriff Kessler offered strategies to rely on as the war against drugs continue. Officials on the state level say the drug problem has gotten worse over the years..., with drugs that are readily available.
Fayette County Sherriff Steve Kessler, said, “When I first started in law enforcement, marijuana was a big thing and some cocaine; you may see some heroin and stuff like that. Now... the pills in the last 10 years have just been overwhelming; how much of that goes on, and how many people do that.”
State Senator William Laird from Fayette County, also Vice Chair of the Health and Human Resources Committee, explained how this issue has contaminated the region.
"In Southern West Virginia, it remains as our single most serious public health concern,” said Laird.
Implementing prevention is the first step of many. State officials agreed that addressing this problem starts where all values are taught. The Senator said: "There's no need for intervention and treatment if were effective in prevention, and like a lot of things everything begins at home. In this instance I think parents have a responsibility to properly oversee the raising of their children.”
Kessler said he couldn’t agree more; "it actually starts at home, I think the very front end of drug prevention starts in the house with your children. Earlier that you can get the word out to these kids maybe the better. They're in the environment you know and a lot of children turn around and do drugs because they see it done at home."
Leaders within the state know there is more work to be done. An issue of this size will be time consuming and taxing, but not impossible.
Senator Laird said, “we will continue to see legislation hopefully dealing with this public health concern. I think it's at epidemic proportion and numbers varies throughout the state. It's impacting our work force, our local economy, and it's certainly playing havoc with the everyday lives of people in the communities in which we live."
"I think were spinning our wheels, but well keep spinning them,” said Kessler.
Officials said certain drug tracking systems have been put in place, but chronic users have found other ways to fuel their addiction. The final piece of the “Kicking Our Fix” series will bring to light how local officials are combatting this issue.