Prosecutor discusses local drug problem with Chamber
by TOM DOTY
PRESTONSBURG - The Floyd County Chamber of Commerce met on Monday and was treated to a bird's eye view on area drug trafficking prosecutions by the invited speaker, Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner.
Turner gave Chamber members an overview of his office's take on drug crimes, which included the use of pie charts culled from a statistical analysis that Turner created which details the efforts made by his office and law enforcement to stem the tide of illegal drug activity in Floyd County since he took office in 2000.
Turner noted that voters complained about drugs in the region and that he made it his mandate upon election to listen to the voters. He explained that the problem was that no one was doing drug buys to effect arrests.
Turner said that Kentucky State Police responded first and was soon followed by the Floyd County Fiscal Court, which funded a task force for the area. Operation UNITE has since taken over the task of arresting drug traffickers and the numbers show no signs of decreasing in 2005.
The presentation, scheduled for 20 minutes of the allotted hourlong meeting, wound up going through to the meeting's end as members began peppering Turner with questions about drug crimes.
Turner was called upon to explain the difference between drugs with similar sounding names, such as meth and methadone, as well as questions about where the problem is leading. Turner pulled no punches.
"We can arrest and prosecute offenders till the cows come home, but the real problem to lick is the demand for drugs," Turner said.
Turner said that curing addicts is the best long-term solution and applauded efforts like Drug Court, which Turner said "desperately needs funding."
Chamber members in attendance were taken with the notion of the Drug Court program and discussed inviting Judge Eric Hall, who oversees it in Floyd County, to attend a future meeting.
In other news:
The Chamber welcomed a new member, Kentucky Mountain Bride.
They also heard an announcement from the Carl D. Perkins Job Corps Center which asked that they identify where volunteers may be needed so that students at the Center can pitch in for community events.
The Jobs Corps also announced that it is planning to celebrate its 40th anniversary on June 3 with an expo in downtown Prestonsburg. Activities for the expo will be announced shortly and it will include demonstrations by students of the skills taught at the center.
The Chamber announced that it will have its annual awards banquet on May 3 and that a golf tournament has been scheduled for July 7, with more details to follow.
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