Drug abuse is the driver behind many other evils
Meth use is on the rise in Klamath County and that’s bad news — maybe even terrible news — for a county stressed to provide law enforcement and treatment for the problem.
Besides being a serious law enforcement issue in itself, methamphetamine use is the driver of other crimes, as well as major social problems — such as spouse and child abuse.
Meth users commonly steal. Their acts are dangerous to the community, not just for how they act after taking the drug, but what they have do to get it. While that’s mostly theft of items they can turn into money, it also carries with it the risk to victims.
It even extends into the problems meth producers leave behind them — such as homes that have been abandoned and resold as happened in Klamath Falls recently. In that case Jonathan Hankins’ family unknowingly bought a home that had meth residue and a warning to check for it was never given to the family because the home slipped through the cracks in the legal requirements.
The family is in for lengthy and costly renovations. Its webpage (www.change.org/petitions/our-new-home-tried-to-kill-us) has received more than a thousand signatures in an effort to prod financial institutions into issuing better warnings, including possible meth use. That includes Freddie Mac, from whom the family bought its home.
That’s just part of the terrible impact that meth can have on a community, and we assume the law enforcement and other problems are worse.
Earlier this week, local officials talked with the Herald and News about increased drug use among juveniles. Obviously, if more juveniles are turning to drugs — and meth in particular — that means more problems both now and in the future.
Unless youth aren’t turned away from drugs as juveniles, they’re going to be drug users in the future. They are also likely to be thieves and wretched family members.
Dan Golden, the Klamath County Juvenile Department director, said in a news story, that his department “is like a canary in the coal mine. This is where the trends begin to emerge because if we can’t get to them while they’re in here then they often go on to a lifetime of crime and drug use.”
So where does Klamath County go from here?
It’s taken a step by alerting the public.
Golden suggests re-establishing the law enforcement inter-agency drug team that was dissolved three years ago because of its cost. The increase in drug use seems to have begun at the same time. Golden told H&N Reporter Shelby King that the drug team put a strong emphasis on arresting drug dealers rather than concentrating on users.
We’re not going to lecture local law enforcement agencies on the matter. They deal with it at ground level. The important thing is for the public to know, and that the costs of not dealing with it now are likely to mean worse problems later on.