Meth is a large part of county’s substance abuse problem |

Meth is a large part of county’s substance abuse problem

The arrest of nine people suspected of running a methamphetamine lab near Lime Kiln Road is certain to be supported strongly by the community.

Whether those arrested are guilty – the courts have yet to decide, and it’s important to remember that the suspects are innocent until proven otherwise – western Nevada County wants a strong stand to be taken against methamphetamine.

When United Way of Nevada County asked the views of county residents about social issues, a full 92 percent – 92 percent! – said drug and alcohol abuse is a very significant or somewhat significant problem for the community.

Meth is a big part of that problem. The most recent statistics show that about a third of the people who enter drug and alcohol programs in Nevada County seek treatment for meth addiction. Often, the number seeking help for meth addiction is almost as great as the number seeking help in battling alcoholism.

Even the large number of western Nevada County residents who grew up in a time when casual drug use was widespread recognize that methamphetamine is something different. It’s addictive, with a great power to wreck lives.

The community and law enforcement officials share the belief that the most effective attack on methamphetamines will target manufacturing and large distribution operations. Sheriff’s officers say the lab they busted on Vintage Road just before Christmas was small , mostly producing the drug for personal use and a little for sale. Nevertheless, the bust is a step in the right direction.

Slowly but surely, the number of meth-related search warrants and arrests handled by the sheriff’s department has risen. Sheriff Keith Royal says the strength of the attack on meth reflects an increased willingness in the community to provide officers with the information they need to target meth-manufacturing operations.

Clearly, information and personal involvement by those who want to banish methamphetamine from the community is just as important as continued dedication by law enforcement officers. Both are needed to accompany the clear statement by the community that it views this a problem that needs to be solved.

Let this be the year we draw this line in the sand.

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