Perry discussed the recent story in The Logan Banner where Magistrate Dwight Williamson discussed the idea, noting that the watch groups had been successful in getting the attention of the legislature and passing a self defense bill into law.
For some time members of PIECES involved in law enforcement and the circuit court system have lamented about the lack of long term treatment in Logan, Mingo and Lincoln counties. John Mays said currently FUTURES in downtown Logan has nine beds, but noted the facility is for males only. Judge Perry said that it would be nice if judges and magistrates had the authority and the resources to order people into long-term treatment programs, but there is a basic lack in such programs in our region.
Ironically, at a time when substance abuse has created a crime wave in the coalfields and many families are experiencing the tragedy of addiction with their loved ones, the Mountain State has had three years in a row with tens of millions left in budget surpluses. Anti-drug activists would like to see some of those funds utilized for more long term rehab locally. Logan was found to lead the state in substance abuse according to the West Virginia Prevention Resource Center and the area has been listed as a HIDA (High Drug Activity) by the feds.
Perry noted that some PIECES members like Sheriff Eddie Hunter had a good working relationship with area watch groups.
"And we just don't have enough treatment places to put people," Judge Perry said. "This could be a project where our group could work with other groups to see some positive change. We need people with experience and education about substance abuse to work on this and phrase things for the legislators, but it's certainly worth thinking about."
John Mays noted that at one point Logan-Mingo Mental Health had put together a 12 bedroom facility some 30 minutes from Logan, but it was closed.
"All we need was money for staffing," Mays said.
Lee McDermott said pastors in the Huntington area have put together a recovery program for people who have been trough rehab and noted that Delegate Don Perdue had been involved in that project. McDermott recommended contacting Perdue about the topic.