Editorial: Opioid Epidemic: Increase Awareness To Improve Quality Of Life

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 24 May 2017 04:00

Managing Editor

The Carolina Beach Town Council discussed ways to address the local impacts of a national opioid and heroin epidemic during their May 23rd, meeting.
Police Chief Chris Spivey and Robert Childs of the NC Harm Reduction Coalition presented information on efforts to help those who use the substances and stop the dealers that fuel the epidemic. (Read the report on page 1-A of this week's edition).
The topic was placed on the agenda following posts on social media sites about used syringes being discovered along some area streets. That prompted many citizens to question how much attention to the Town is giving to a national epidemic.
The meeting was quite informative and offered citizens the opportunity hear their Police Chief speak about how they are addressing the issue. An issue that isn't unique to Carolina Beach. Law enforcement agencies across the U.S. are having to come up with unique ways to address the issue of abuse of opioid medications and heroin. Towards the end of the discussion, Mayor Dan Wilcox explained, "This is obviously and clearly a community issue. And it's going to be an ongoing issue. There's nothing this Council can do by itself. There's nothing this Police Department can do by itself  that's going to eliminate the drug problem. We are better off than some communities in certain areas. We have unique challenges to other communities in certain areas being a vacation destination. Public safety is our number one concern. But we also have concerns for the image of our Town, your property values and the other things that create a balance between how much advertisement so to speak we can do. We want to be able to get the word out. We want to be able to find ways to get the word out but at the same time it's not something that I think is easy to come out and do a full fledged advertisement program on 'here are the issues'."
The community needs to know, without reduced volume, what their local government is doing to address the problem. Rather than being fearful of how bold outreach programs will impact the Town's image and property values, realize that citizens will identify Carolina Beach as more safe community because of those efforts to lock up dealers and reach out to offer recovery to victims of the epidemic.


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