Funds needed in fight against drugs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Go to any city in the United States, and you will find communities that struggle with a drug problem.

Thanks to efforts from law enforcement officials, as well as community leaders, there is progress being made in combatting some of the problems that come with that, such as violent crime, poverty and residents living in fear.

A federal Byrne Grant, through The Alabama Economic Development Corporation (AEDACo),

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was awarded to the Dallas County Commission to fight illegal drugs and violent crime in five west-central Alabama counties.

The commission will use the funds for the operation of the Fourth Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force that serves Dallas, Bibb, Perry, Hale and Wilcox counties.

In November, Gov. Bob Riley notified Dallas County Commission Chairman John W. Jones that the matching grant had been approved – $143,000.

During its meeting Monday night, the Selma City Council showed unity in approving a motion to commit $15,000 in matching funds.

Council President George Evans commended the county, the city and District Attorney Michael Jackson’s office for “keeping us safe from drug trafficking.”

During the meeting, several councilmembers requested additional assistance in combatting the drug problem in their wards.

“We’ve got people calling and begging for help,” said Councilman Johnnie Leashore.

St. Phillip, St. Ann, Minter, Lapsley and L.L. Anderson streets in Selma were cited as being problem areas.

Riley said that “by aggressively pursuing and prosecuting drug dealers, we reduce drug-related violence and crime and protect the health and safety of our communities.”

As many people know from issues within their own families and circle of friends, a drug problem is not an easy one to face.

Helping those with drug addictions is another issue that will have to be addressed.

At present, Cahaba Cares, located at 912 Jeff Davis Ave., is the lone outpatient center in Selma that deals with drug addiction and substance addiction.

Law enforcement will have to be tough and aggressive in cleaning up some of these neighborhoods. At the same time, social and aid workers will be needed to help those struggling with addiction.