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Scott Loftis

From the Editor

Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com

Opinion

The real price of drugs

Friday, February 21, 2020

A recent visitor to my office wanted to talk about the drug problem in Carroll County and how it impacts almost every facet of life here.

I knew that drugs are an issue here. Sadly, it seems they are an issue almost everywhere these days ó even in a beautiful county like ours where things seem quiet and peaceful most of the time. Still, I had never really thought about all the ways that drug abuse affects all of us, every day.

My visitor had thought about all that, and made some excellent points.

Drug abuse creates an extra burden on our law enforcement agencies, which have to deal not only with the direct criminal consequences of that activity but also the indirect ones ó the petty crime and thievery that drug addicts are responsible for in our county.

The court system is clogged with drug offenders ó if you donít believe me, go sit in circuit court on any random Monday.

Drug abuse causes any number of health problems, which in turn adds to the stress on an already strained healthcare system ó especially emergency healthcare.

Drug abuse adversely affects our educational system. Kids whose parents struggle with addiction often arenít prepared to do well in school, nor do they have the support at home they need to thrive. A kid whoís hungry, or tired, or sick because of their parentsí lifestyle seems less likely to get all the benefits of an education ó even if our local schools are often safe havens for these same kids.

The problems that drug abuse creates in our schools in turn affect our ability to produce a stable, reliable workforce. Thatís a detriment in attracting new businesses and industry.

These are just some of the things that come immediately to mind after my discussion with that recent visitor. Later this year, we hope to present an in-depth series and delve into more details on how drug abuse hurts our county. We wonít be doing that in an effort to be negative; instead, our hope is that by recognizing and addressing the issue we can somehow begin to work toward a solution.

Drug abuse in Carroll County is an expensive problem. I mean that from a financial perspective, but also in terms of the lives it destroys.

Itís a lot to think about.