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Drug Sweep: Stopping drug abuse will need resources

Our state’s massive substance abuse problem may have been flying under the radar for the past several months, but law enforcement officials have been quietly continuing the fight. Quietly, that is, until Wednesday, when agencies in Jackson County conducted Operation Centennial, the largest drug investigation warrant sweep in the state’s history.

The effort was led by the Jackson County Bureau of Investigations, but the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Ravenswood Police Department, United States Marshal, Drug Enforcement Administration, West Virginia State Police and West Virginia Department of Natural Resources were involved as well.. By midday, the sweep had resulted in 113 warrants for cases involving methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, prescription narcotics, and marijuana.

Skeptics might be tempted to wonder whether the massive coordinated effort will make even a dent in the Mountain State’s war on substance abuse. It will, particularly if it results in the arrests of those who have chosen to profit by distributing and selling these poisons. But one would hope it will also serve as a warning, perhaps striking fear into some and causing others to seek a way out.

Jackson County’s sheriff’s department issued a declaration on social media after the sweep had begun: “If you are a drug offender and/or distributor in Jackson County, you have three options: Get Help, Get Arrested or Get Out!!!”

Here’s hoping more than a few will seek the first option — and that the resources are available in their communities for them to do so. If we are serious about stopping this monster, we have to tackle it from all angles, including putting the necessary resources into prevention, treatment and recovery.

Meanwhile, congratulations to those who joined together for Operation Centennial this week. May it be only the beginning.

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