By Zig Ziegler
September 10, 2009
There is a huge problem in Ketchikan that appears to be the undercurrent to much of the criminal activity, suicides and social problems we are experiencing. That problem is drugs, specifically, meth and oxycontin. I would be willing to wager that drug use is directly linked to so much of what our community has been facing over the past few years. Is Ketchikan alone in this? Certainly not. Is that an excuse for not taking on this problem head on? Absolutely not.
It is time for us as a community to say "Enough!" We are a small island community that appears to be burying our collective head in the sand and avoiding dealing with this epidemic. The consequences of our avoidance are making headlines all too frequently. How much stealing, dropping out of school, and killing of our young is too much before we stand up and figure out how to eradicate this subculture and the poison it provides our youth. And it isn't just the youth that are involved. Children whose parents are involved with drugs are at tremendous risk as well.
Talk with any police person, social care provider, physician or teacher and find out what is going on. If you don't think it is an epidemic now, you will after speaking with any of them. The costs, not only monetary, but socially, are staggering. We all pay for it, but the cost of one life is more than we can afford. Somehow, we have to admit to the problem and deal with it as a community. Too many times we shake our heads over the latest tragedy and do nothing about it. If we want to have a healthy, successful community we have to fight for it and take out the garbage.
How can any kid in Schoenbar or the High School know who is using and where to get the drugs and we can't stop it? What is it that we can do to stop the poisons that are derailing so many lives? Why is it that drug use appears to be the cause of so much misery, criminal activity, and social problems and yet it continues to go on and on?
It is time to take aggressive action. Parents and schools must educate the kids about the various drugs and the consequences of use. Drug testing for ALL students should be mandatory. If public funds pay for education, then the public should be assured that the students are sober. Law enforcement must be given the tools and funding to seek out not only the users, but especially the dealers and suppliers and the courts must punish these people to the full extent. Treatment must be available for those who need it. Our local governments must make it a priority to target programs that encourage drug-free activities. Parents need access to knowledgeable help in ascertaining a child's drug use and how to deal with it.
It is time to take control of a situation that is out of control. We can no longer make excuses about what is going on. There have been too many suicides, too much criminal activity, and too many families that have been torn apart by this crisis. Are you ready to stand up and fight for our community? Attend the upcoming meetings on suicide and ask if drugs were involved. Call your councilman and assemblyman and ask them to support programs to deal with this epidemic. Involve yourself in your child's school. Every little thing that we can do must be done.
Received September 10, 2009 - Published September 10, 2009
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