Guest Editorial

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Guest
Editorial

Drugs
Here, Problems Real

Editor:

I write
to express my growing concern for an ongoing problem that has plagued Worcester
County. I have been a resident of this county for more than 30 years. I have
seen first hand that the drug problem here has grown exponentially in that
time. Worcester County has a bountiful supply of marijuana, cocaine,
prescription drugs, heroine and a vast array of others.

We are
all exposed to the negative effect of drugs whether we are aware of it or not.
I have worked in various law practices in the county and have seen the negative
effects that drugs have had on many clients and their families. I have had
personal experiences with loved ones and addiction. I read the local papers
every week only to find more and more drug charges and drug-related charges.

Despite
the knowledge of the surmountable drug problem we have here, I have yet to see
much effort to do anything about it. I have personally watched local law
enforcement drive by a parking lot where drug activity was clearly taking place
and do nothing. I have read the penalties for distribution which frequently
amount to nothing more than probation and have personal knowledge of career
dealers being back on the streets in less than two years.

In many
instances, convicted offenders are slapped on the wrist and ordered to pay a
fine. With no verifiable employment, how can such fines be paid without selling
more drugs? My personal experience and knowledge with local law enforcement
regarding the enforcement of drug-related crimes has been less than acceptable.
My knowledge of local prosecutors regarding the enforcement of drug-related
crimes has been less than acceptable. My knowledge of the laws as they are
currently written with regard to drug-related crimes has been less than
acceptable.

Please
do not assume that the drugs are in the city and make their way here with
tourists. That is not the case, the drugs are already here and it is my belief
that most of them come from here. I recall reading an article several years ago
in a national teen drug prevention magazine that both shocked me and educated
me. The article stated that there are more drugs per capita traveling through
Worcester County than any other county in the country.

I wish
I had kept a copy of the article to provide with this letter. I was shocked to
make this discovery but when I heard the explanation it made sense. Worcester
County is a hub, a corridor, a hallway if you will. The federal government has
increased enforcement on Interstate 95 between Miami and New York so the
trafficking between those two cities stays closer to the east coast and travels
the Route 113 corridor from one end of the county to the other. Federal
agencies have also increased enforcement in the Baltimore Harbor, and in response
to the increased enforcement the drugs are now likely brought into the county
by boat as well. In all my years in Worcester County, I don’t recall ever
seeing any drug enforcement activities patrolling our local waterways. What a
great location for easy access and delivery of a quiet drug trade.

For the
past several years, authorities have attempted to address the problem by
attempting to rehabilitate users. On any given day, you can drive by the
Atlantic Club on Route 50 and notice the lot is full of recovering and
attempting to recover addicts. These programs have my full support. The problem
I have is that many of the programs are cheapened by court-ordered
participants. Those suffering from the disease of addiction are voluntarily
seeking treatment for that disease are hindered by those that are there only
because the courts say they have to be. We cannot continue to ignore drug
dealers with the hope that they will go away if we take away their clientele.
That approach is clearly not working. We have to fight the battle from both
ends.

Twenty-five
years ago, drunk driving amounted to not much more than a traffic citation.
Drunk drivers were smacked on the wrist, sent home and told to sleep it off.
Since the creation of MADD and SADD, that has changed. American citizens
nationwide have demanded tougher penalties and greater enforcement for
alcohol-related driving offenses and those demands have been met. I propose
that we do the same for illegal distribution of narcotics and other drugs. I
say we demand new legislation increasing the penalties for drug-related crimes
and demand that drug dealers be held accountable to the fullest extent of the
law. If we accomplish nothing else, perhaps Worcester County will not be such a
desirable location for drug trafficking and sale. I propose FADD (Families
Against Drug Dealers).

I know
that I am not alone and there many who have been negatively affected by the
drug trade in this county. Most folks reading this will know a friend, a family
member, a co-worker or employee that has exposed them to the nightmare of
illegal drug sales and the addictions that come with it. The drugs are here and
the problem is real. With many elections in the months to come, now is the time
to demand that something be done.

Now is
the time to make law enforcement, prosecutors and legislators aware that their
constituents no longer wish to tolerate drugs in our cities and towns. If you,
like me, have had enough and feel as strongly about cleaning up our county as I
do, please email me at worcestercountyFADD@yahoo.com. Together our voices will be
heard and we can take our county back, before it is too late.

Tara K.
Barrett

Girdletree

 

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