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Lawmakers, commit to fight drug abuse

A quick review of indictments from a recent Lincoln County grand jury shows just how bad the drug problem is everywhere, even right here in Lincoln County.

At least 29 of the 40 or so indictments involved drugs in some way, and several involved opioids.

Those numbers reinforce stats provided by the state.

In 2016, the estimated population of Lincoln County was 34,523. In that same year, there were 40,732 prescriptions filled for opioids.

“That’s a really good barometer of just how big the problem is,” John Dowdy, director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, said.

We hear about the opioid crisis almost daily. But the stories are typically from somewhere else, so it is easy to pretend the problem is somewhere else.

The problem is here. And law enforcement cannot solve it alone. Thankfully, the state has invested in saving the lives of drug users once they overdose. But that will do nothing to solve the problem of drug addiction.

Opioid addiction is a national health crisis that must be addressed at the local, state and federal levels. It will take significant resources aimed at education and treatment to make a real dent in it. Lawmakers at the state and federal levels must be willing to commit significant resources if we have any hope of slowing, or stopping, this crisis.