Troy has a drug problem.
Let me repeat that, in case there was some misunderstanding: Troy. Has. A. Drug. Problem.
Kind of hurts to see it spelled out in black and white, doesn’t it?
The longer we go on denying there’s a drug problem in our beloved town, the worse it is going to get. It doesn’t matter where the drug problem started (most seem to want to blame it on Dayton), how it got here or who is doing it. The fact that our town is “not like is used to be in the good old days” has become readily apparent of late, and simply bemoaning the fact that there’s been a shift in values isn’t going to bring things back to the way they used to be.
It’s going to take effort to fix our problem. It’s going to take teamwork. It’s going to take putting our faith and trust in the trained professionals who are on the front line of the drug battle.
In other words, it’s going to take all of us.
Don’t get me wrong — Troy isn’t the only place that has a drug problem. There are plenty of places across the nation — from metropolitan areas to towns as small as or smaller than Troy — that have drug problems. For decades, though, drugs were a problem “other” places had to battle. Troy was an innocent, almost insular, little burg that had many big-city amenities without the big-city problems.
Troy was the place you could leave your doors unlocked at night. Troy was the place where, if you lost your wallet, not only would it be returned to you with all the money still in it, but there’s a good chance someone added a few dollars … you know, for your inconvenience.
There’s still a lot of that — there’s still so much good going on around this city — but we can no longer afford to ignore what may be the biggest threat I’ve seen to our community in the 40-plus years I’ve lived here.
It’s no longer “someplace else.” It’s no longer “a Dayton problem” or a “Cincinnati problem.” It’s here. It’s now. And it’s a Troy problem.
There’s been plenty of anecdotal evidence in the past week alone to suggest just how bad it has gotten and how deep the problems run. Towns without drug problems don’t have people overdosing in fast food restaurant bathrooms, overdosing while babysitting children and overdosing while in a drugstore bathroom.
Those things don’t happen — and certainly don’t all happen within a week — in a town that doesn’t have a drug problem.
I love Troy as much as you do. It’s why I’ve chosen to stay here my entire life. I grew up in the idyllic community we all so fondly remember before this issue came to a head. I want things to go back to the way they were before we had to worry about sending our children into a public bathroom, for fear they might find someone overdosing on heroin.
That’s why I’m hoping we can fix this problem — but we can’t do it alone. We are going to have to do it together.
We need to support the law enforcement officers who are tying to stem the tide of the infiltration of drugs into our community on a daily basis. We need to support both the medical professionals and the drug counselors and therapists who are working with those who are trying to get healthy.
We need to support our educators in the schools who are responsible for helping to teach our children the difference between right and wrong — and the dangers of drug use — when we aren’t there to do so. That being said, we also can’t put the responsibility totally upon them. It has to start at home, with out own children.
More than anything, though, we have to admit there is a problem and be aware of it. We can no longer stick our heads in the sand and deny it is happening all around us. We need to know the warning signs of someone who is using drugs or someone who is at risk to become a drug user — and get them the help they need before it becomes a problem.
One of the things I’ve always loved about this community is how it comes together — whether it be for a festival or a football game. Now, however, the stakes are so much higher. We need to defeat this scourge together.
Because whether we like it or not, Troy has a drug problem.
Troy’s very own David Fong appears on Thursdays in the Troy Daily News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong