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Chamber Holds a Drug Awareness Dinner

By Staff | Jul 5, 2017

A variety of paraphernalia was brought to the dinner for visual aids.

A Lunch and Learn was recently held at Bon Bon’s in Sistersville where the topic of discussion was drug awareness and drugs in the workplace and at home. The presenters were Carla McBee, Medical Examiner for Tyler and Wetzel Counties, and Police Chief Rob Haught. Chief Haught has over 30 years of experience in law enforcement, is active in drug awareness education, and is the liaison officer with WV Fusion Intelligence Center. Chief Haught had also brought some visual aids along with him to show and explain drug paraphernalia.

Carla McBee is also in charge of the drug testing process for CAM safety , conducts classes on “Street Drug Abuse” and retired from Wetzel County Emergency Medical Services after 22 years as a paramedic.

Haught started the luncheon by stating, “If you read the paper you will see that every week there are drug headlines. Every week somebody is being sentenced in Circuit Court for a drug offense or there is a crime being committed that has a drug nexus to it.” He added that 90 percent of the calls that his office responds to are drug affiliated, “whether it be drugs themselves, theft to feed the addiction, or child neglect that stems from drug abuse.” That all has an impact on cost whether it is healthcare costs, court costs, loss of time costs, destruction, or theft of company property.

There will be another course named “Hidden in Plain Sight” where parents and guardians can be educated on the types of drugs and what to look for when dealing with children using drugs in the household.

McBee added, “As the medical examiner of Tyler and Wetzel Counties, most of the deaths are related to drugs, usually meth or heroine overdoses.” She continued, “What is alarming is that it is not getting better, it is getting worse.” Drug abuse is on the rise and unfortunately West Virginia is number one in the nation for heroine deaths and drug overdoses.

Addiction is painful for everyone and some families have gone broke trying to get a loved one off of an addiction. Some addicts even feel that the only way out is suicide. Several suicide cases in the state are directly related to drugs, which again has a direct affect on the family.

Drug addiction does not pick and choose it’s victim, no one is immune to it, and there is no particular social class that is affected. Everyone can be a potential victim. Doctors, lawyers and police officers have all fallen victim to addiction.

Several people blame the pharmaceutical companies for over prescribing pain medicines throughout the state. There have been instances where a person may be recovering from surgery and their prescription ran out so they would go to the streets to buy pain medicines. If these pain medicines are not available they will turn to whatever is available, which is usually methamphetamine or heroine.

There are certain signs of addiction to look out for. Many addicts spend a great deal of money for their drugs and so there is often nothing to show for their work or money. Occupationally, some addicts will ask for advances on their paychecks in order to purchase more drugs. There again this leaves them broke and needing more money for the necessities of life such as food or shelter.

Change in demeanor can be another warning sign. Addicts will often put drugs ahead of their loved ones and will start socializing more with drug dealers than their friends and family. A change in diet can also be a warning sign. Often an addict is too concerned about getting a hold of their drug of choice that they forget about eating, or are so sped up that they don’t feel like eating.

Chief Haight held up a bag of methamphetamine and explained, “It’s hard to believe that this right here destroys lives.” What does a person do when they have to have that on a daily basis? They more than likely spend most of their paycheck and must resort to other means to feed their addiction. They hang out with only drug dealers, and eventually they begin to demean themselves so much that they feel they have no life worth and are on a downward spiral.

Addicts are not bad people, they have been caught up in a bad habit but eventually become so down on themselves that they begin resorting to bad behaviors such as stealing in order to keep up with their addiction.

Chief Haught also added, “When a person chooses to use heroine, methamphetamine, or other opioids, there is no success story. There is no happy ending.” These powerful words describe the end result of addiction. There are no winners when it comes to drugs.