Monday, April 17, 2017

Into The Neighborhoods: Boots on the Ground

Today is the third week of the challenge and the day for the letter N. For my letter N I have chosen to talk about Boots on the Ground: Going Into the Neighborhoods. 

In the midst of a war, you may have heard the expression, boots on the ground. It is a military expression meaning, The ground forces 
actually fighting in a war or conflict.

We here in Martinsburg, WV, and across the country are fighting another kind of conflict. This conflict reaches far beyond the state lines and into the heartland and across coast to coast. East to West. North to South. This goes all across this great nation of ours. 

The conflict I am referring to is the Heroin epidemic. It is everywhere. It is in your town. It is in your
neighborhood. It is on the streets. Locally here in our town, a local advocate for change, Mr. James Boyd has coined this expression relating to matters of equality and civil rights, right down to our heroin epidemic. 

Can this heroin epidemic really be considered a conflict? The definition of conflict is "A serious disagreement or argument." There is no disagreement or argument about this heroin epidemic. The numbers do not lie. This my friends is a war. People die in wars. People are dying in this war against heroin. 

Here in Martinsburg, WV and Berkeley County, we are at ground zero fighting a war against the heroin epidemic, the high numbers of overdoses and the high numbers of those who are losing their battle with the disease of addiction and dying from it.

Here just like in many other cities and states across the United States it feels as if we are fighting a losing battle. What sets us aside from some is that we are a small town in West Virginia. Our town has been ravaged and plagued by this epidemic. Death from overdose now far exceeds car crash fatalities in this area. This epidemic and war in our community here have proven there are no real winners or losers in this fight against it.

Running right through our county is the Eisenhower Highway System. Known to the Department of Highway as Interstate 81. Known to us locals as "the Heroin Highway."
Some of you may remember last October when local advocate James Boyd led a group of us who gathered at the King St. overpass to lock arms and say, No More!!! We have had enough!

Drugs flow in here and through here every day on this twenty-five mile stretch of highway and sometimes goes through Frederick County, Va and on into Virginia. Little towns in Virginia, such as Luray.

One of our advocates here in our community, Mr, James Boyd is calling to action, Boots On The Ground in this fight against the heroin epidemic here. I and other groups around the area are answering the call. This is a call out for the groups to come together. Together, going out into our many neighborhoods that are known around here.

Just because you don't see it, heroin lives everywhere
Those known for a lot of dealing. Those known for the overdoses happening on their streets. The drug-plagued motels on the outskirts of town that too many locals, have shady activity happening in plain sight.

Many who stay there say they prostitute for their heroin habit. Getting the information out into the community on the resources available to help them. Letting them know that that Help and Hope for a new tomorrow is in the neighborhood.

Whenever we have gone out to speak about the possibility of a treatment center here we are always met with the opposition. Those who gathered on Baltimore St last year may remember the lawn mowers and weed eaters on a Sunday afternoon that tried to cover up the words of truth being spoken that day. You may also remember just the day before our Memorial and Vigil someone started words of fear among those who wanted to attend saying that we would all be arrested.

While yes, I listen to what they say and the reasons for their concern because just as important as we want to be heard, so should their concerns and questions be heard also. The information out by NIMBY is old and outdated. It no longer applies. If you don't believe me, write to the Mayor of Huntington, WV and ask him how the recovery places are working out in his town.

Our main adversaries here are those from the NIMBY or otherwise known as, Not in my Backyard. They say things like,

"Not in my neighborhood. It's too close to churches. It's too close to the schools. My property values will drop. Addicts will hang out there."
We've heard the excuses Not in your neighborhood? Look around you. In case you haven't guessed it already it is in everyone's neighborhood, including yours. 

Too Close to churches?  Where do you think a lot of this activity is going on. Right in many of the church parking lots. When the churches here are putting up signs in their parking lots relating to this type of activity. It's around the churches already. 
Too close to Schools? Are you kidding me? It's already happening already inside of the schools as well as around the schools here

Your property values will go down? Show us your statistics that say that.

Just in case you haven't opened your windows there are people dying all over your neighborhoods.

Why is it that any social program or something that might help those suffering such as a drug treatment center always has those opposed screaming, "Not in my backyard"?

It's okay for the dealers to set up shop in their neighborhoods, let's just not open a treatment center there.

These are the "front lines" of the epidemic here in this town. This call is going out to all the groups here in our community who are fighting against this heroin epidemic who they themselves are fighting not only in the community but has affected family members as well. Most have children and loved ones who are addicted and fight against the establishment for treatment and help here. Many are just fighting to keep their loved ones alive.

People passed out on the streets and in the parks
paraphernalia found on the streets is a public health matter

The need for everything and everybody .. win and loss column ... Help not handcuffs After rehab what then? We need all of the pillars of recovery right here in Martinsburg, WV if we ever want this to end!

This blog joined the Recovery Army. More to come on this subject!!! 

I hope you stop back tomorrow to read the beginning of this fiasco and The OxyContin Express.

Credits for this post:
pics across town belong to Dee Pierce and Lisa Everhart
pic from Pinterest
Letter pic Blogging A-Z

© 2017 Gossip Girl

1 comment:

  1. Ft Wayne has gotten the idea recently that yes, they are in the battle- maybe not at ground zero, but not far off. Whether they do anything about it past a week's worth of news "special reports" remains to be seen.