OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Several local treatment agencies joined with law enforcement specialists and the courts in Owensboro Tuesday evening for a seminar centered around mapping meth and the avenues it is taking across the city.
Some leaders feel this overwhelming issue is being overshadowed by opioids.
In data pulled by Owensboro Police’s Street Crimes Unit, meth arrests are happening all across the city. No areas are excluded. More than 18 pounds of meth have been seized so far this year compared to 14 pounds in 2018 which was the most in the last five years.
“I wish I could tell you we’re putting a dent in the drug war, but we are losing terribly,” OPD’s Sgt. Michael Nichols stated. “We do what we can do to keep our heads above water. We’re just not drowning.”
Honorable District Court Judge Lisa Jones comes across many of these cases in the courtroom. She says a lot of the attention and federal funding focus falls on opioids.
Meanwhile, Judges are working to become better educated in addiction.
She claims a majority of child abuse and neglect cases are rooted in drug-use.
“You can’t look at someone and try to shame them or guilt them and say ‘you’re choosing drugs over your kids’ because it’s a disease, not necessarily a choice they’re making,” Hon. Jones said. “May have been a choice the very first time they put that drug in their system, but once they’re addicted, it’s not a choice. It’s a disease.”
New numbers from the National Office of Drug Control Policy shows it’s not just the judicial system and jails that take on the traffic but a major cost to the community too.
"For every dollar spent on meth, it costs your community $7.46 in lost productivity and crime-related spending,” Dr. Ronsonlyn Clark calculated.
Although it’s hard to put a price tag on human suffering, inspiration is invaluable for those caught at a crossroads.
“I know to ask for help when I need it,” Thurman shared. “And I keep what I have by giving it away. I am living proof we do recover.”
Several support service groups also set up tables to hand out information on treatment services.
City Commissioner Larry Conder sponsored the event.