Anyone who doesn't believe that Columbiana County, just as everywhere else in the United States, has an ever-increasing drug problem has been living with his head buried in the sand.
The evidence is everywhere, but nowhere is it more prominantly displayed than in the police reports we publish every day in the Morning Journal.
Our reports contain a growing number of home burglaries, even in broad daylight. There are many thefts of copper wire, copper pipes, bronze and other precious metals from homes, businesses and vehicles. In some instances, these thieves are willing to risk their lives to obtain these items to sell for money to feed their habit.
Even the recent rash of thefts of vehicle batteries has been linked to drug addicts. The growing number of shoplifting incidents reported to local police are also being committed by drug abusers.
Because of the increase in crimes which are directly related to drug abuse we're encouraged to hear that the Salem Police Department will soon be returning a full-time officer to the drug task force.
The DTF is a group of specialized investigators composed of police men and women from departments throughout Columbiana County.
At times, nearly every county police department has been represented on the DTF. However, budget constraints have caused some municipalities to withdraw their officer or cut back his or her commitment to only part time. While pulling the policeman back to serve directly within the community is an understandable reaction to dwindling revenue, we ask that every village and city council consider all of the ramifications of their actions. Battling drug abuse may result in lower numbers of other crimes and a lack of police manpower will only fuel the problem.
We may never win the war on drug abuse, but we should never give up the fight. Kudos to Salem for planning to return the full-time officer to the DTF.