WILLIAMSON – An opening ceremony for Adult Drug Court was held Thursday afternoon in the Mingo County Circuit court.
Judge Miki Thompson welcomed the large crowd to the event. “Drug Court is going to be beneficial to our community. I believe that it is going to make our community safer. We have an inordinate amount of criminal cases if not just about all are drug fueled or drug related in some way. This is an exciting day, not just for the court system but for Mingo County. We are all going to work together and hopefully it will be to the good of our community,” Thompson stated.
Thompson then introduced the guest speaker, Mike Lacy, Director of Probation and Services. “We have drug courts in 28 programs serving 45 counties around the state. It is delightful that we are in Mingo County today. What better thing could I be doing today than opening the new drug court in Williamson W.Va. in Mingo County W.Va.,” Lacy began.
Lacy continued, focusing on the high rate of addiction in West Virginia and the far reaching impact of addiction.
Lacy also discussed several statistics associated with addiction rates in W.Va. Lacy stated that W.Va. has the highest overdose rate in the nation. Lacy also explained that W.Va. leads the nation in neonatal abstinence syndrome births. “12 percent of all babies born in W.Va. hospitals have drugs or alcohol in their systems,” Lacy stated.
“The fact is we have come to a horrifying conclusion and we have come nose to nose with the unavoidable truth that these drug addicts are our sons and daughters. They are our mothers and fathers. They are our brothers and sisters, our aunts and uncles – our neighbors. They are folks sitting beside us at church. They are school teachers, college professors, and doctors. When we think about what the face of addiction looks like, we can look to our right, and look to our left. That is the face of addiction in W.Va. It is a horrifying thing but that is truth of addiction in W.Va,” Lacy continued.
Lacy concluded commending on those that worked to make drug court possible in Mingo County. “They are here to help and they are going to do a wonderful job,” Lacy stated.
Renee Moore, Drug Court Probation Officer spoke next thanking several for their support in making this program possible and requesting that the community help support this program. “I would like to request community support. It will take support to make this program effective,” Moore said.
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)