Fighting the never-ending battle against drugs

Drug use is a vicious, often unforgiving, cycle. One week, the news focuses on opioid abuse, the next it’s heroin addiction, and the next cocaine. All are highly addictive, powerful elixirs that destroy families, disrupt communities, escalate crime and wreak havoc at every turn.

Meth is no different. In some respects it is perhaps more dangerous, more addictive and more destructive.

Yet in Sampson, of late, meth has once again become the drug of choice, rivaling opioids for the top spot among users. It is, like so many others, a disheartening reminder that even in our quaint, beautiful county drug abuse is rampant, tearing down our neighbors and friends and, by virtue of its potency, leaving its fingerprints across our community.

An article in Tuesday’s Sampson Independent reported that meth use is once again on the rise in Sampson, a disturbing fact that proves that the cycle of drug abuse continues, even as the fight to contain it rages on both in the county and within the city limits of Clinton.

Both Sheriff Jimmy Thornton and Police Chief Donald Edwards acknowledged that meth use is spiking again, even though the number of labs discovered has not … at least not yet.

Thornton and Edwards said the escalation of meth use can be attributed to many factors, not the least of which is the ease of obtainability and the highly addictive nature of the drug, itself.

Because meth’s addictive nature is so powerful, the demand for the drug is overwhelming. And as with any other drug, where there is demand, there will be someone to supply it. No matter how many times people are arrested for manufacturing and distributing the drug, there are others waiting in the wings to fill the void.

And, though there are limits to the main ingredient it takes to make meth, pseudoephederine, there are wiser manufacturers out there with a line of “drug mules” ready and waiting to do their bidding, each purchasing up to the limit of decongestant.

With a will, there is a way, and that is what law enforecement witnesses every day — a revolving door of drugs, users and sellers, always looking for ways to circumvent efforts made to put lasting brakes on such illegal activity.

Officers must focus on one drug at a time, working leads, responding to complaints and beating the bushes to uncover illegal activity and its root cause.

In Sampson we are fortunate to have law enforcement officers in the city and county who are persistent in their efforts to bring drug dealers to justice and find help for users, knowing that a two-prong approach is the only way to fight what seems to be a never-ending battle. Dealers must be stopped but so must the need for the drug; one without the other becomes a futile attempt at halting the inevitable.

It is true with meth, and it’s true with every other drug, illegal or otherwise.

Stopping the once again growing need for meth takes all of us working together. If you know someone who is abusing the illegal substance, work to find them help. If you suspect someone is cooking meth in your neighborhood, report that to law enforcement. If you are abusing the drug yourself, let someone help you.

There are no simple solutions, but working together a difference can be made.