The beginning of a long, hot summer has, to say the least, been oppressive and extremely hot. The exhausting weather seems to mirror the drained progression of positive drive in my spirit. I am weakened in my efforts to promote the far-reaching needs and seemingly lost call to rally masses to a cause. At every turn, new roadblocks cross the paths of my understanding. Believe me, the roads to needed change go on forever and in many, many directions. No one solution will change our problems.
I have tried to keep one diligent ear open to opportunities to promote efficiency and the other ear open to efforts to thwart our progress. All information I have heard is not credible, usable information; however, many wonderful ideas have sprung from investigations and actual research. So, I have judged what I consider to be some necessities that must be addressed to begin to further the cause of stopping drug abuse in Scioto County.
I would never claim to be something other than a source of opinion, but I think some ink must be given to obvious needs and dutiful actions. I have discussed these issues with many area citizens, and I think change will occur much quicker if these steps are taken by the populace. I wonder if the citizens have both the desire and the energy to make these steps into realities?
Here is a list of some (in my judgment) of the most needed improvements we should take to build a base of important change:
1. We must provide action to support programs such as Neighborhood Watch to stem the steady flow of drug-related crime.
2. We must call tip lines and take initiative for helping all of our law enforcement officers arrest dealers.
3. We must demand that all school administrators and superintendents attend Scioto County Rx Drug Action Task Force Meetings.
4. We must attend local school board meetings and demand that new, updated drug education programs be a part of our schools' (elementary, junior high, and high school) curriculum now.
5. We must elect officials who will make the epidemic of overdose death the NUMBER ONE priority in our county.
6. We must make applications and receive new State and Federal grants to upgrade our drug-fighting capabilities.
7. We must finally realize that drug-abuse is tied to crime, unemployment, work conditions, high rates of migration after graduation, high rates of welfare, poor housing, and record-setting accidental death rates in our area -- then we must resist it at all of these points.
8. This fall, we must be sure the proposed pill mill legislation in Columbus will have "teeth" and serve as a tremendous beginning to changing laws - Northern Ohio does not have the same problem as Appalachia and we need to make that known.
9. Playing the underdog, we must flood the press and the airwaves with information and news about our undeterred efforts to find relief in all areas of drug-related concern.
My proposed solutions offer a beginning to change, certainly not a complete working model. Again and again, I have said we must motivate the masses to achieve any efficiency in our efforts. Pushing the envelope of activism is the first criteria for change. Many in our area are ham-stringed by relationships and old customs. "Old boy" and "Owe me one partisanship" should turn to justice and fair play. We need you, brothers and sisters of the area, and we need you now.
"I think if the people of this country can be reached with the truth, their judgment will be in favor of the many, as against the privileged few." --Eleanor Roosevelt