Drug overdoses have been a recent problem in parish

Published 4:55 am Friday, March 2, 2018

This column was written by Sheriff Randy Seal:

During the week of Feb. 19, two drug overdose deaths were reported in Washington Parish and one death the previous week in Bogalusa. In addition, several other overdoses did not result in death due to medical intervention. The primary drug in such instances is heroin.

Unfortunately, Washington Parish is not alone in dealing with deaths from drug overdoses. While no statistics are yet available for 2017, the National Center for Health Statistics reports Louisiana had 890 drug overdose deaths in 2015 and 1,015 drug overdose deaths in 2016. This shows a 14-percent increase in one year. I expect the final 2017 numbers to be even higher.

This is a sad commentary on the mindset that exists among drug users in our parish and state, as well as throughout our nation. So many of our citizens, young and old alike, seem to be seeking meaning in life through such deadly and artificial means. While there is no means to adequately state the cause, I believe that one of the primary reasons for the drug use phenomenon is related to the breakdown of many American families and the resulting lack of positive spiritual and moral values.

Drug abuse affects more than just the drug abuser. Families, friends, co-workers and others are also impacted. The devastating results of drug addiction are spread throughout our communities, causing untold grief and trauma for too many people.

As your sheriff, I will continue to place emphasis on seeking out and arresting drug dealers. These folks need to be in jail and I will do all within my legal authority to place them where they need to be. This is not the overall solution to the drug abuse problem. We also need strong family structures in which our children can grow up and receive positive values and resources for living a drug free life. This is not to say that parents are always the cause for drug abuse. Some drug abusers come from strong families. A great majority, though, come from broken families.

I call on fathers to be strong loving fathers and husbands. I call on mothers to be strong loving mothers and wives. I call on all residents of our parish to be willing to reach out to any person, young or old, who is experiencing addiction problems.

Randy Seal is the sheriff of Washington Parish.