Every time we think there is going to be an ebb in the constant flow of meth abuse in Sampson County, yet another tragedy occurs reminding us that the use of both legal and illegal substances remains a serious problem.
There’s no getting around it — drugs have a commanding presence in our community and often lead to many of the other crimes we read about in daily reports from the Police and Sheriff’s departments.
Over the weekend, we reported on an incident involving an Autryville man charged in connection with a meth lab which started a house fire in November. He and a female were burned in the incident.
Charges against the 51-year-old man included manufacturing meth, storage of a hazardous waste without a permit and three counts of possession/distribution of a meth precursor.
All are serious drug offenses. But they are certainly not the only ones. All it takes is a look at our newspaper on any given day to find someone charged with using, distributing and often manufacturing illegal substances, anything from cocaine and crack to meth, marijuana and, from time to time, even heroin.
And that doesn’t even take into account the dozens upon dozens of people who have yet to be caught. It also doesn’t include the dozens upon dozens of people who are in reports, or again haven’t been caught yet, that are abusing prescription medications that can be found in so many medicine cabinets across Sampson.
No matter what the drug of choice might be, the truth is clear: drug abuse is rampant.
Some will say we are merely sounding an alarm bell, making too much of the issue and trying to put a blight on our great county.
If we are being alarmist it is for good reason; we don’t see it as a negative to make people aware of the situations in our midst, not to shed a dark light on a great county but rather to make everyone mindful of the problems we have, problems that, together, we can help to solve.
Nothing gets solved, however, when we hide them away, allowing people to believe that the drug problems that exist in every other county and city across this country don’t happen here. It would be absurd for anyone to even think that a possibility, given the penchant for drugs people have across all socio-economic levels.
A drug problem exists. Meth problems are growing again, and because of it the impact grows, crime rises and people, many of them innocent family members and friends, get hurt.
There isn’t an easy solution. One part is education; another is treatment; and still another is punishment, punishment, that is, that fits the crimes committed.
It is an uphill climb, but together, acknowledging these problems exist, we can make a difference.