Stop the revolving door

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 17, 2017

Police officers face a never-ending stream of drug arrests. Recently, I’ve seen many people on our Facebook page calling for treatment options, instead of the perceived revolving door of arrest and release.

It seems as though narcotics detectives and routine traffic stops lead to at least one drug arrest every day, just within the city limits of Picayune. But, every city in the U.S. and across the globe has problems with drugs and alcohol.

It’s easy to point fingers and claim the police aren’t doing their job, parents aren’t paying enough attention to the warning signs of drug use in their children or outside influences are bringing these life-damaging substances into the community.

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However, it’s evident the police are doing their part, parents try their best and no matter what’s done, those that want drugs will find them.

While some people are calling for a larger inter-agency effort to round up the city’s drug dealers, that will only keep them at bay for so long.

After one dealer is arrested, another will take his place. These people need to learn that drugs are not the way; for some that may mean mental health treatment. A more effective solution needs to be found.

But, on Wednesday, the Senate passed an appropriations bill that would cut the Department of Mental Health’s general fund by an additional $4.8 million. In total, the department could lose $45 million out of its budget.

As of July of last year, the MDMH said it would no longer operate state-run programs for adult males with chemical dependency needs. Locally, there are a few providers that can help with drug addiction, but it’s not enough.

In 2014 the Governor signed legislation that would reform corrections and the criminal justice system. The legislation stipulated that some non-violent drug offenders would get treatment instead of a prison sentence.

But the question remains, what is really being done to end the cycle of drug abuse and arrests?

About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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