POINT PLEASANT — Drugs continue to be a major problem in Mason County, Greg Powers told a group of Chamber of Commerce members, and it’s a problem that is being tackled daily by the combined effort of local and state law enforcement.
Powers, who is the Mason County Sheriff, spoke to the group at the chamber’s monthly luncheon, held Tuesday and hosted by Point Pleasant Church of God. He said that the Sheriff’s Department made 36 drug-related arrests this year that resulted in indictments, and has generated 32 drug-related reports.
Powers talked about the importance of building a case against known drug-dealers, so that proper evidence can be shown in court. It’s a time-consuming process, Powers said.
“People call us all the time and say “they’re selling drugs right down the road from my house,”” said Powers, “And it’s as frustrating for us as it is for you guys. Nine times out of ten when you call and tell us that, we probably already knew it, but we have to be able to prove it in court. We don’t want to arrest these people and then they turn around and get right back out.
“We want them to go to court, be indicted, and be incarcerated.”
“It’s in every community,” added Point Pleasant Police Chief Joe Veith, who talked about the problem of prescription drugs, saying that he and his colleagues aren’t just looking at drug dealers from Detroit; sometimes, he said, it’s the elderly who are selling their pain medications in order to buy food.
“It affects everybody. If you have a loved-one who has this problem, it affects the entire family and community.”
Veith said that he agreed with Powers’ assertion that drug arrests are more complex and time-consuming than they may appear to the public.
“It’s not a 30-minute TV show,” Veith said.
Powers said that 911 call-numbers are projected to be higher for 2013 than they were in 2012.
“Right now if we stay on track we’ll have about 283 more calls this year through the 911-center,” noted Powers, adding that citation, DUI, and arrest figures are also up from last year.
Powers also talked to the group about plans for a longterm recovery center, which are currently in the works for Mason County. The house, he said, if plans ahead, will be a three-bedroom home for people who have already gone through drug rehabilitation, and are looking for a supportive atmosphere while they train for new jobs and prepare for new lives.
“The home would be staffed by Prestera, and run partly by peer responsibility,” Powers said. “It’s a place for people to live, and get squared away so they can get back into the community. These folks are making an effort to get better.”
Eddie Lanham, chamber board president, reminded the group that Point Pleasant River Museum is still looking for a few more people to row in this weekend’s boat race during the Dragon Boat Festival at Krodel Park. The festival is set for Saturday and will feature races, food and music. Those interested may call Jack Fowler at (304)674-0144.
Lanham added that the chamber is working on updating its web site, and he announced the upcoming Anti-Drug Coalition meeting set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, September 26 at the Mason County Library.
The October chamber luncheon will be Tuesday, October 22. The location has yet to be determined, and will be announced.