Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

July 4, 2011

Our View: A growing community problem

Batesville area being impacted by heroin

The Herald-Tribune

-- — It might be referenced in many ways – dope, black tar, smack, snow, junk, brown sugar and white lady, just to name a few.

No matter what slang words are used, heroin is dangerous and has impacted this community.

The response at Tuesday’s public forum on the topic was a reflection of the community’s concern for the growing problem.

Over 300 people filled the seats of the Batesville High School auditorium to listen to a trio of speakers introduce a concern and heighten an awareness of a problem quickly spreading through the community.

Heroin use and abuse is on the rise, according to public officials and local law enforcement. It has impacted the local schools as well as may be a key contributor to the recent rise in local crime, including home invasions.

One of the presenters – an Indiana State Police officer – cited Batesville as a haven for such illegal activity. Above average wealth and access to money for youth are key factors, while proximity to large cities like Indianapolis and Cincinnati also contributed to the increase in usage.

Still, it is a choice.

A choice one makes to get involved in the illegal activity. A choice the parents and adults make to ignore signs of abuse. A choice school administrators and community leaders make to curb the problem or to deny there is one.

The Batesville Community School Corp. and local community leaders have stepped into unfamiliar territory, but need your help. They have taken the first steps in admitting there is a problem and have exhibited a commitment to finding solutions.

Eradicating or even curbing the abuse of heroin and other illegal substances will not happen overnight. It will take a long and diligent effort from everyone.

Educate yourself and family on the dangers of heroin and other substances. Communicate openly with your children and get to know their friends. Don’t make excuses for abnormal or questionable behavior. Be a positive role model – your actions and behaviors will influence those around you. Follow your instincts and stay connected with other parents and adults who have an influence in your child’s life. These are just a few of the suggestions expressed at Tuesday’s forum.

Don’t find excuses. Find the resources and help that are out there if you suspect a problem.

Is this community prepared to stand together and make a difference?

Or will it take a tragedy or series of them before we wake up and admit there is a problem?

The problem is here and it is real.

What can you do to be a part of the solution?