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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Editorial: Lawrence County's Biggest Crimes Center Around Drug Abuse Comes with High Cost

Editor: Bill Raines Lawrence County Zephyr

LAWRENCE COUNTY - (December 21,2021) - There is probably not a family in Lawrence County that has not been affected by Lawrence County's biggest criminal issue.

According to officials the two leading crimes in Lawrence County centers on drugs, and domestic violence.

The Lawrence County Commissioners has asked for a study in regard to building a new jail, local judges asking for a more improved court system and yet there are major differences on how we deal with the largest issue plaguing our community.

In 2017, Lawrence County Commissioners ended its needle exchange program based on several factors. But former Lawrence County Prosecutor Michelle Woodward stated she could not facilitate illegal drug use. This program was to prevent HIV, following a large breakout in Scott County Indiana.

Since then, Indiana legislators have allowed police officers, firefighters, and regular individuals have access to Narcan which helps reverse a drug overdose from heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine.

Locally, Oolitic Volunteer Fire Department has constructed a box outside its fire station for the community to have access to Narcan.

Questions remain on how Lawrence County will deal with our drug issue? Do we provide a jail, rehabilitation, combination of both, and how we help those struggling with addiction?

This editorial only looks at the mixed signals of the community, and how the issue being handled. There are no easy solutions with many divided on how this can be handled.

Whatever it the solution the price tag continues to grow!

Michael Coryea's request to bring in patient drug treatment facility to both Bedford or Oolitic was rejected by both communities

The Lawrence County Justice Study concludes that the county will need more space to house inmates with a growing need to house inmates who commit crimes in the county. The study calls for an 83,000 square facility that will hold up to 300 inmates.

The cost for a new jail is proposed at approximately $46 Million to be located on Beech Street.

Lawrence County Courts use a Drug Problems Solving Court to help those who are in the criminal justice system to find a way out and begin life drug free.

IU Health along with the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council is combining efforts with Trauma Informed Care to address the issues around drug use.

Is there a way to reduce the amount of people using drugs and help those struggling with addiction?

Bedford City Council rejected the proposed drug treatment facility on Industrial Drive in June of this year.

However, residents in Bedford and Oolitic have been hesitant to offer treatment options for those addicted. Other than a 28-day treatment facility offered by Transitions, which is part of a court ordered program, most have rejected having a treatment facility in Lawrence County.

Oolitic Town Council rejected a drug treatment facility on Hoosier Avenue in Septemeber 2021

In June, of this year Bedford City Council rejected Michael Coryea's request for an in-patient facility located on Industrial Drive in Bedford. In September, the Town of Oolitic rejected to operate the facility on Hoosier Avenue.

Jerry Ford purchases Heltonville School for $750,000 for a drug treatment facility from NLCS

Jerry Ford purchased Heltonville School in the amount of $750,000 to build a drug treatment facility.

In Lawrence County from law enforcement to drug-treatment the drug issue continues to come with a heavy price, with no simple solution to deal with it.

You are welcome to weigh in on this complicated issue.

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