Our Voice Heard Loud And Clear
Writer / Laurie Quinn
The Town of Fishers has a voice, and a mighty one it is! The voice rang loud enough to draw law enforcement, elected officials and community leaders from Hamilton and Boone counties together under one roof to have a roundtable discussion with U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly. What topic of discussion is strong enough to bring all of these bodies into one room? Drug abuse and rising heroin and prescription drug use in Hamilton and Boone counties.
When residents of Fishers are approached about the subject of drugs, many say, “Oh well, it doesn’t happen here,” or “That isn’t a problem here.” What residents don’t realize is that according to whitehouse.gov, the number of meth lab seizure incidents in the state of Indiana increased 94 percent from 739 incidents in 2008 to 1,432 incidents in 2011. From 2009-2010, Indiana was one of the top ten states for rates of drug abuse. “Every high school in Indiana has a drug problem,” says State Senator Jim Merritt, “and the risks of these decisions to abuse drugs just increased.” Senator Merritt authored a bill this year that increased the penalties for look-alike drugs that were previously receiving lesser sentencing.
Plugging “drug abuse in Fishers” into Google produces two headlines that stand out. One is a news video about a mom who found out her son was having drugs sent to him in the mail in the packaging of a DVD case. When she opened the case, the DVD was in there but her son’s behavior made her look deeper. Cracking the binding of the case released crystals all over her table. She immediately called the police. The police informed her that the crystals were the drug Ecstasy. The video can be found on RTV6.com by searching the title “Fishers Teen Admits Buying Drugs on Dark Net: Hidden Online Market.” This video is barely a year old, dating back to May 3, 2013.
The other headline that is an attention grabber involves a new synthetic drug called NBOMe that has tragically hit Fishers. This is a potent psychedelic drug that is perhaps the cause of the death of a local teen. Due to its potency, it can be more lethal than less potent drugs because it cannot be accurately dosed, which puts users at a higher risk of overdosing.
On Tuesday May 27, Senator Donnelly met with local law enforcement, elected officials and community leaders at Launch Fishers. “Some observations I heard from participants during this meeting included that as heroin use has increased, so too have related crimes, including homicides. In addition, prescription drug abuse continues to have a serious impact on communities in Hamilton and Boone counties,” Senator Donnelly stated.
Meeting with participants offered some themes to keep in mind while working on dampening drug abuse locally, the first being education about the perils of prescription drug abuse. Secondly, our law enforcement and prosecutors face many challenges in keeping the dealers and users off the streets. Lastly, using additional resources such as creating partnerships with federal law enforcement, including the DEA, and also using grants to provide financial support as law enforcement feverishly work to address this problem. While there is no single solution that will get heroin off our streets or end drug abuse altogether, Senator Donnelly wanted to emphasize “working together, there are steps we can take to make our communities safer.”
One of the main, haunting questions is why is drug abuse (whether heroin, prescription, synthetic or others drugs) on the rise here? As parents, we should be asking ourselves this question to help our community make our schools and streets safer for our children. Researching this question, two reasons are repeatedly brought to light. The first is bullying and how it isn’t just at school anymore. With use of technology products in everyday life, bullying no longer stops once the child is in the safe walls of home. Being aware and involved in your child’s technology use is an important and vital role for parents today. Ask questions, get to know their friends and be there for them when they have questions or need support.
The second reason that was brought up numerous times is the pressure children feel to live up to parents’ expectations. Whether it is in sports or with grades, children have an urge to impress their parents and the desire to know that their parents accept them. It can be seen at a young age by the child pleading, “Mommy, watch me do this!” or “Daddy, did you see that goal I made?” The need for a parent’s acceptance is an important stepping stone in life.
I followed up with Senator Donnelly a few weeks after the discussion here in Fishers and his response was, “Since my meeting, the Senate started working on a Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) funding bill, which allocates federal resources to keep America safe. I advocated for the bill to include a measure that would help address the alarming increase in heroin use and the ongoing prescription drug abuse epidemic through development of a comprehensive strategy focusing on stemming this crisis and am pleased to report that the legislation includes a similar initiative. The legislation would direct the Department of Justice to convene a taskforce that includes experts from law enforcement, medical, public health and education fields to devise and coordinate a response to help our communities.”
Our voice was loud and clear and the love of our community has shown our leaders that we want drugs off the streets here in Fishers. Fishers Police Chief George Kehl voiced, “Drug abuse negatively impacts individuals, families, businesses and government resources. I believe a combination of drug education and enforcement will help reduce the negative consequences that are associated with drug abuse. Articulating our concerns about any sort of drug abuse to our community leaders is what has led the issue into the Senator’s line of sight.”
Keep up the good work, Town of Fishers!