The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 28, 2012

A dent

Effort to rid streets of pill problem is progressing, but we need a wrecking ball

— In advance of Saturday’s fifth annual Drug Take-Back Day, Booth Goodwin, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia,  has been traveling to various locations across the region to promote the effort.

Goodwin and State Police held a press conference Thursday in Beckley, and when asked if authorities were “winning the war” against the prescription pill abuse crisis, he said while law enforcement absolutely is holding its own and has made a “dent” in the epidemic, there was much work still to be done.

“It’s such a monumental problem. It reaches so deep into communities that we have to engage everyone to really turn the tide,” Goodwin added.

Indeed, the whole village has to sign on and while dents are good, a wrecking ball is what is needed to crush the scourge.

Every single facet of our lives is being impacted by drug abuse.

Stories in today’s edition talk about a rash of break-ins, copper thefts, home invasions, shootings, robberies — and it’s not just today’s paper, it seems like every day we are reporting similar stories. All in the name of drugs: addiction, trafficking.

Police and judges will tell you that eight or nine of every 10 crimes have a link to drugs.

Our prisons and jail are overcrowded, like never before ... the overwhelming majority of inmates there because of drugs.

Goodwin says perhaps the most alarming part is that kids, younger and younger, pre-teens, are being exposed and are directly involved as users and dealers.

The task is mammoth in scope but we have to keep pressing forward with our hammers — in the days, months and years ahead — to smash this out-of-control machine of destruction.

On Saturday we again have the chance to perform another part in this battle by visiting a Take Back drop-off point after clearing your medicine cabinets and homes of expired or unused drugs.

It is a way to both limit the supply and reduce your chances of having a crime committed against you in your home by some junkie seeking that next fix.

Everything you can do to fight the war on drugs will help, everything.