An Oceana town hall was held last Saturday afternoon as a follow up the meeting held last May about the area’s substance abuse problems.
The meeting was held at the Oceana Middle School auditorium.
“We’re going to keep fighting,” said D.J. Morgan, one of the organizers of the event. “It’s not a problem that’s going away.”
Congressman Nick Rahall noted that he had announced earlier in the day that Raleigh County had been given a HIDTA designation, which makes it available for more federal resources in the fight against drugs.
“Under pressure from Sen. (Joe) Manchin and myself, ” he reported, hydrocodone had been from a Schedule 3 pharmaceutical to Schedule 2.
“It increases controls on this product,” he said.
Prosecutor Michael Cochrane said the HIDTA designation, which also went to Wyoming County recently, “is extremely significant.”
“If you sell drugs in Wyoming County, I guarantee you will go to jail,” he declared. “We continue to fight (drugs) every day.”
Cochrane discussed Drug Court, which goes into effect in the county in 2014.
He said he expected to have 10 to 12 first time offenders go through the process.
Funding comes primarily through the West Virginia Supreme Court.
“The program is pretty intensive,” Cochrane stated. “We’ll be very selective about who we put in there.”
On a question from the audience, Cochrane discussed “controlled buys” as a method for catching drug dealers. “It’s a long process,” he stated. “The more buys you have, the better off you are.
“That’s the most effective way,” he added.
Del. Karen Arvon asked for input on a proposal to make medications which contain pseudophedrine by prescription only.
Pseudophedrine is used in cold medications.
Some people said they felt such a law would punish honest people, who would be required to incur the additional expense of going to the doctor and also take time off from work to make the visit.
Arvon said she would be looking at other states which have such laws and “see how they are working.”
Councilman Jim Cook discussed the K9 unit working with the Oceana Police Department. Since the dog went to work, three drug-related arrests have been made.