I wonder if the ‘normals’, a term I use for individuals lucky enough to be totally unaware, or a person that does not have a family member or loved one addicted to drugs, really understand the true epidemic that is occurring right in their own neighborhoods. As a therapist that works in three local county jails, it is obvious how serious this problem has become.
The local jails are full, most of them overcrowded, filled to capacity due to charges of possession of various prescription and illegal drugs, the sale of schedule drugs, manufacturing methamphetamine, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Many charges involve theft, aggravated burglary, and forgery, used to support the drug habit. Various charges such as driving on a revoked license can be due to the individual losing his or her license but continuing to drive without following through by taking DUI classes to have the license reinstated.
At any given moment while driving down the road in your own neighborhood, you might be passing someone under the influence, a drug dealer, or someone getting ready to commit crimes in order to get drugs. Where does this all end?
One way to fix the problem is to educate oneself, observe what’s going on around you, and be aware of the implications of the epidemic. The next step is to realize that even though we live in small communities that drugs such are Heroin are out there and to not assume that it is a problem that only occurs in larger cities. Teens are exposed to substances like methamphetamine, bath salts, Xanax, Heroin and strong opiates such as Roxicet, Opana, and Suboxone. It’s not your parent’s marijuana anymore, folks. Education and involvement in the community, and compassionate understanding is the only way to stop it.
Cynthia Mason is a Master’s Level Therapist and is Criminal Justice Liaison for Campbell, Union, and Claiborne County jails. She is a staff member for the 8th Judicial District Recovery Court in Campbell County.