Opinion

Mayor’s beat — Whidbey heroin, drug problem won’t just go away

By FRED MCCARTHY

Langley mayor

The sun is shining. The salt air and water invites us down to Phil Simon Park, and a brand new expanded Langley Marina. The grey whales and orcas have come to Saratoga Passage on their yearly migration looking for “ghost shrimp” to feed on, and we have watched them breeching and feeding in the waters around our Village by the Sea.

Why do we need to shatter these serene images and talk about meth and heroin? Do we really have a big problem here or is the newspaper sensationalizing the story to sell more papers? What can we do about the problem anyway? For the person whose life is consumed with meth or heroin addiction, there is little time for peaceful walks along the beach or watching eagles soar over the trees on Whidbey Island. The addiction drives them to be always thinking about where the money is coming from for the next buy. Forming the Island County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is a first step.

I received a phone call after the newspaper article hit the front page of the South Whidbey Record. It was from a mother who told me her son went from being a successful and optimistic 16-year-old young man to being a homeless, helpless, and hopeless heroin addict. She told of rescuing him from hotel rooms and chasing off drug dealers herself to try and bring him back from the edge. She said she could help with organizing events and fundraising. She wondered if she could help out other parents and their children.

I believe if we don’t acknowledge the problem, it won’t just go away. I believe it’s no different or more pronounced here than in other rural areas across the country. We’re not the only community that has this challenge. I know someone in law enforcement who told me how sad the stories are of the people dealing with this. I do know that an attorney who defends people says it is at the center of some of his clients’ problems.

Thank you for your time and interest in a topic that has a lot to do with quality of life right here in Langley and on Whidbey Island. I think we can make a difference in this problem by working together on it.

Sincerely,

Fred

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