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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Warning: Drug Storm

An alert from the Ohio Early Warning Network initiative sponsored by the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addictions Services, the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio National Guard ( reports, "Prescription drug abuse and pharmaceutical diversion continues to be a significant problem throughout Ohio."

Prescription drugs are readily obtained illegally in most areas of Ohio . Some of the brand names of commonly diverted prescription drugs include Oxycontin ® , Vicodin ® , Percocet ® , Tylenol with Codeine No. 3, Valium ® , and Xanax ® . Oxycontin ® is particularly popular in southern Ohio where authorities believe it's been responsible for many deaths since 1999.

Many youth make the mistake of believing abusing prescription medications is not as dangerous as abusing "illegal drugs." The truth is -- whether these pills are coming from a drug dealer, a classmate, or a family member's medicine cabinet, misuse and abuse of prescription medications are killing Ohio young people. Now, these drugs are more available and accessible than ever before.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 10 million children took prescription medication for three months or longer in 2002, and preschoolers, another study found, are now the fastest growing group of children receiving antidepressants. According to the DEA, the abuse of prescription drugs represents close to 30% of the overall drug problem in the United States, second only to cocaine.

Along with tremendous prescription drug problems, Southern Ohio suffers from these maladies:

1. Mexican criminal groups control the distribution of Mexican black tar heroin in Southern Ohio.

2. The rural areas of southern Ohio provide an adequate environment for marijuana outdoor cultivation

3. In Southern Ohio, Mexican methamphetamine is becoming more prevalent. Methamphetamine coming from Mexico in the form of “Ice” is readily available throughout Ohio.

I am convinced in the poverty-stricken, high unemployment environment of Southern Ohio, we are witnessing the powerful forces of criminal activity ripping seemingly irrepairable holes in the basic fabric of our already depressed sense of community. We have let our excuses for inaction stifle our true concerns. I honestly feel people believe that the area is going to be suddenly transformed by a heavenly power into a renewed "morally responsible thriving, growing locality." 

Wants, wishes, and prayers are NOT going to make this happen. Too many black inroads of poison already scar our home. We need to acknowledge the threats that have already been realized. We have become the infected core of a festering wound.

More and more criminals are moving out of the cities into the ripe fields of despairing small-town Appalachian environments and finding easy pickings. Make no mistake, here they have set their sights not only on the dupes and dopes but also on the stressed and the pained. And, most terrifying, some of the easiest targets for them to destroy are those youngsters whom you tuck in tonight.

In times of darkness, people must let nothing deter them from performing the positive tasks that will lead to the good light of promise. Our problem of complacency is now our burden. Somehow, we must overcome doubts of effectual service and dreams of intervention of fate. Everyone has a part to play in the outcome. Time is of the essence as the body count rises and the suffering escalates. 

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