The main victim in the drug epidemic in Scioto County is the child. That’s the assessment of some Scioto County officials and now they are looking for a solution before a huge problem occurs.
“It’s going to bankrupt counties if we don’t figure out a way to turn the tide on crime,” Scioto County Commissioners Chairman Bryan Davis said. ” It’s getting worse and the tentacles that the drug epidemic has and the costs and effects from it are ever increasing and we’re feeling more and more pressure in regards to this.”
Davis said he and County Commissioner Cathy Coleman were in a meeting with juvenile officials this week and he did not mince words in his description of that meeting.
“It was probably one of the most depressing meetings I have ever sat in,” Davis said. “It was probably one of the hardest ones where I have sat and listened to on the effects the drug epidemic is having on our (Scioto County) Children Services Board.”
Davis said the employees of the Children Services Board are on the “frontlines” visiting homes and making decisions on behalf of the children caught in the middle of the drug problem.
“(Juvenile Court) Judge (Alan) Lemons and his people, our magistrate Rebecca Bennett, their court is being stretched so thin and their people are having to do so much because I believe we are right on the precipice of a breaking point where the service level is so high at our Children Services and our Juvenile Court.”
Davis stressed the level of the problem.
“We now have over 200 kids in protective services,” Davis said. “That’s the first time in our history we’ve had that many and 90 percent are drug-related cases. These kids are all victims. We have more juvenile delinquents than we’ve ever had.”
Davis stressed the high incidence of drug-addicted babies.
“These are the things that are affecting our county,” Davis said. “Our Children Services Board, it’s draining their funds, their revenue dramatically. It’s draining their personnel physically and mentally.”
In a county of 79,000 people there are 24 foster homes.
“Is this depressing enough?” Davis asked. “We need foster parents. We need good people. If there is people who have thought about it, never looked into it, have a good home, have some love to share and would be able to supply these kids with their needs, we encourage them to contact our Children Services and start that process immediately.”
“These kids deserve love. They deserve the attention and they deserve to be able to go to school,” Davis said. “A lot of these kids are delinquent and they’re not in school, they’re getting further and further behind and not getting the education they deserve and we need help.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.