Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Drug Addiction Fueling Property Crime

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Drug Addiction Fueling Property Crime

Article excerpt

It's not news that many of our communities are being plagued by crime fueled by the drug epidemic. Theft and drug addiction often go hand in hand, and the problem is not confined to urban centers like Charleston and Huntington. Increasingly, it's becoming a rural problem. Local police departments have been overwhelmed with reports of property crimes, including a rash of business, home and vehicle break-ins. Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards even went on social media to warn residents after a rash of break-ins in the Hurricane area during the summer.

The Dollar General in Culloden was recently broken into. So was Hurricane Floral and WV Quilt in Barboursville. The Church in the Valley at Milton had $600 worth of items stolen. Surveillance cameras at an industrial training business on U.S. 60 caught images recently (shared on social media) of someone at night trying the entrances, looking for a way in.

A Milton couple arrived home to find their garage broken into. Power tools, a compressor and a rug shampooer were among the items stolen. An elderly homeowner was attacked when a robber broke into his home on Mud River Road.

Many heroin addicts become incapable of normal, legitimate work, forcing them to resort to petty crime to fund their drug habit. One Milton resident summed up the situation this way: "Most could name the heroin addicts around here by name. They are questioned, picked up, released and causing havoc on the community.

What can be done?

More help for addicts is essential. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) showed up recently at Winfield Middle School to unveil a new drug abuse prevention initiative, aimed at keeping prescription drugs off the streets. The Putnam Wellness Coalition, with federal funding, continues to work with schools and communities to help eliminate substance abuse. …

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