The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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The Rave

March 8, 2013

The fight against drugs involves everyone

The war on drugs has been raging in the United States for decades. Like the war on terror, it is a war that does not have a definitive finish line, no real guidelines to prove exactly what represents victory.

So the fight continues and will continue for the foreseeable future. Not only that, the war seems to inch closer and closer to us every day.

This week came news of Montour County’s first meth lab.

“It’s here,” was Montour District Attorney Rebecca Warren’s simple declaration.

While many think of drugs as a big-city problem, there is little doubt it is an everywhere problem, even here. Too often police blotters are filled with reports ranging from someone stopped with drug paraphernalia to laboratory-style operations like the one found in Danville.

The reason the Valley is becoming a gathering place for drugs has to do with geography — the proximity to the Interstate 80 corridor — to demographics to demand.

Nothing good comes from a town, or even a neighborhood, becoming a one-spot stop in the drug trade.

But the arrival of methamphetamine is concerning on another level. Most illegal drugs involve risk, but mainly to the user.

Methamphetamine is different. Because of the caustic mix of chemicals used to create the drug — which can be turned into power, crystal, rocks or tablets — a meth lab poses a considerable amount of risk to the surrounding community because of its volatility.

The ingredients are so flammable that on occasion these meth labs explode into a fiery mix that includes dangerous chemicals. Within the past week there have been explosions tied to meth labs in North Carolina, South Dakota and Michigan, where the dealers were severely injured.

This risk jeopardizes innocent bystanders. In addition, if the lab is discovered, law enforcement officials are imperiled when they enter the premises to investigate.

These are risks we should not have to deal with, but ones that are being thrust upon residents of the Valley.

We must not lose focus on the overall picture in this battle; it’s not just about meth, never has been and never will be. But this again creates a new focus that this fight just isn’t one being fought by men with badges.

“We need to be hyper-vigilant,” Warren said.

It is a fight all of us need to be part of.

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