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Berkeley Springs,, West Virginia
August 27, 2009     The Morgan Messenger
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August 27, 2009

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}NESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2009 Vo,ume 116, Number34 Berkeley S ii,i,,i,,i .... II,,li,,il ..... ii,,i,iil,,,i,,i,,,i,i,li,,,i,,it I I Founded in 1893 by S.S. Buzzerd prescr p by Kate Shunney Part One of a three-part series At 20, Morgan County native Robert Dugan, III is rising toward a bright future. Now a junior at Shepherd University, Dugan has a life that many envy. He has a car, a full- time job and plans to attend law school. Unfortunately, many of Dugan's peers are light years away from a future like his, their plans having been derailed by heroin and pre- scription drug abuse. The overdose death of a 19-year-old local teen in September 2008 sparked an awakening for a group of young people in the county. "You hear about an overdose and you think it's just one person, but it's not," Dugan said. Dugan said he was offered drugs all the time during his teen years in Berkeley Springs. At first, he avoided the drugs because that was a deal he'd made with himself. He stayed away from them for a different reason as he got older. "If you make it long enough without doing drugs, then it's just seeing the effects on peo- ple that made me stay away from them," Dugan said. He watched his friends sell their cars and stereos to pay for their habit. He saw them miss work and lose their jobs. "Drug use really started during the sopho- more year in high school. You heard about people grinding pills in the spine of their books and snorting them in class," he recalled. As some of his friends were pulled into deeper and deeper drug use, Dugan distanced himself. He did it partly to keep his future intact, and partly to avoid being associated with the teen drug scene. "Friends got to the point where they wouldn't do it around me," he said. LOCALLY-SEIZED HEROIN, PILLS AND DRUG PARAPHENALIA are some of the wide variety of items police have encountered in Morgan County's illegal drug trade. The large green pill is Hydrocodone, the large white pill is Oxycodone, the small white tablets are Lorazepam and the oblong pills are generic Percocet. Also pictured is a small baggie of heroin, a heroin cooking spoon, syringes used to inject heroin and a straw used to snort crushed pills. Snorting prescription drugs delivers the substance straight to the brain, bypassing the time- release coating on the pills. Search for help The heroin overdose of one of their own shone a bright light on the addiction. "They say to themselves, 'It'll never happen to me. But it if can happen to him, in the same breath, it can happen to me,'" Dugan said in an interview early this . month, "A lot of people I knew wanted to get off it. Nobody starts out saying 'I want to be addict- ed to heroin,'" Dugan'said. 85 SCHOOL HAS STARTED Unfortunately, most of the young addicts who decided they want to stop using didn't necessarily get the help they needed right away. "People who think you can just stop are misinformed," said Dugan. Some addicts were told they would have to go to Martinsburg or Morgantown for a drug rehab program. "Help is just not available. Even when it is available, there's a waiting list and it's costly," Dugan said. "I have a friend who told me, 'If you can afford to get help, you don't have areal prob- lem'," said Dugan. He's been told that addicts seeking help have turned to buying suboxone, a modern opiate replacement pill similar to methadone, on the street. "They end up buying it from the people who used to Sell them heroin," he said. "You need to take the people who want help and are caught in this vice and give them help," Dugan said. "There is a large disconnect between people who have kids and those that don't have kids. Because the largest voting group are people who aren't affected by this, there's not a lot of resources or pressure to deal with it," Dugan said. Despite Dugan's impression that Morgan County's drug problem only affects a certain part of the community, a two-month investiga- tion into local heroin and prescription drug abuse reveals that drug addictions touch all age and income groups, and affect not just the addicts, but their children, parents, neighbor- hoods, schools, police, courts and every Morgan County taxpayer. see HEROIN page 9 commissioners" ....... by Kate Shunney Supporters of an anti-chaining law for pets in Morgan County ramped up their campaign at last Thursday's County Commission meet- ing, filling the county meeting room with backers and experts in the field of animal cru- elty. They urged county officials to write an ordinance that would limit the conditions " ~under which dogs or other pets could be chained up on private land., More than 35 local residents attended the meeting, many wearing tee-shirts saying "Unchain Morgan County." This was the second time in two months that Unchain Morgan County organizer Gary Brock had brought the proposal to the com- missioners. The ordinance he has proposed would . require chains or tethers for dogs to be at least eight feet long and allow for movement and access to food, water and shelter. Tethering would be prohibited between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Other provisions include specific guidelines restricting the duration of tethering during extreme weather. It would also be illegal to chain dogs within 500 feet of a school or a bus stop, to chain dogs younger than four months old, and to chain unsprayed animals. Issue is widespread Brock said he was continuing to educate people about the cruelty of chaining dogs for 'long periods. A LAW RESTRICTING HOW LONG LOCAL DOGS could be chained is under consideration by the Morgan County Commissioners. Adam Goldfarb, of the Humane Society of the US, spoke about similar legal efforts in other counties and states. He said over 100 communities in 30 states have passed anti-tethering laws like the one being considered locally. Those towns and counties have seen a reduction in animal cruelty calls and dog bites as a result, he said. see ANTI-CHAINING LAW page 9 by Kate Evans Morgan County Health Department officials have been'preparing for the onset of swine flu or H1N1 influen- za in the area. The county has no reported cases of swine flu so far, said Lee Fowler, Health Depart- ment administrator and public information officer, on Monday. The Health Department is coordinating their swine flu response with all area med- ical providers, Morgan County Schools, county offi- cials and emergency services personnel. Swine flu cases nationally have been estimated at more than one million, with most states reporting local and not widespread occurrences of the disease. Some 7,983 hospitalizations and 522 deaths have occurred across the country to date. West Virginia cases West Virginia has had a total of 344 cases of laborato- ry-confirmed cases of swine flu as of August 12. Berkeley County has had 12 cases and Jefferson County six cases. There have been 23 hospi- seasonal flu vaccine clinic talizations so far from swine and then a clinic for each flu in West Virginia, but no dose of the swine flu vac- fatalities, cine. Most cases of the H1N1 Other clinic locations are swine flu have been mild, but the Morgan County school some hospitalizations and board office for school deaths have occurred in chil- employees; Paw Paw Schools dren and youth'under 18 and and the Paw Paw Senior pregnant women. Center; CNB Bank, Inc. Swine flu emerged in the for their employees; the spring. Cases are expected Senior Life Services of to jump this fall with the Morgan County; and the beginning of the school courthouse complex for year. county employees, Fowler Swine flu vaccine said. A swine flu vaccine proba- The Health Department bly won't be ready until after does those locations every mid-October and will be year for the seasonal flu, he administered in two doses said. that are three weeks apart, Depending on the severity Fowler said. of the swine flu outbreak, The Health Department has health department staff could tentatively scheduled a series also take vaccines to the of clinics to dispense season- nursing home. They would al flu vaccines and the swine want to avoid big public flu vaccines, meetings that would spread Clinics for seasonal flu the disease more, Fowler vaccines will start at the said. beginning of October. Swine Agreements are already flu clinics will begin in late in place to use the schools October. for ma s immunization if Four flu vaccinatior~ clinics " it becomes necessary, he will be held at the Morgan said. County Health Department. Other locations will have three flu clinics, first a See SWINE FLU page 14 by Kate Shunney Local businessman and for- mer commissioner Bob Ford told the current commission- ers last Thursday that they should meet with Governor Joe Manchin and tell him to "call off the wolves" when it comes to getting state approval for a new War Memorial Hospital. Ford, who served as county commissioner from 2000- 2006, said Manchin had injected himself into negotia- tions to sell the local hospital before it was put up for pub- lic sale, pushing Morgan County to sell the county- owned facility to West Virginia University Hospitals instead of Valley Health Systems. "When he takes the posi- tion that he doesn't have any- thing in this, that's ludicrous, because WVU came here because of the governor. They didn't come here at our request or at their own request, but at the request of the governor," Ford said at last Thursday's commission meeting. Big plans Ford recounted how he and Commissioners Tommy Swaim;and Glen Stotler and County Administrator Bill Clark approached Manchin in 2006 with an economic development plan that involved a new hospital, the northern end of a U.S. 522 bypass, a hiking-biking trail and a food manufacturing plant for Fresh Express, a bagged salad company. The county had already been involved in negotiations with U.S. Silica to buy 77 acres, for a new War Memorial Hospital, but sand mine officials weren't com- fortable with added traffic on the current U.S. 522, which cuts through their operations, Ford said. 1 In preparation for placing the new hospital on U.S. Silica land, county represen- tatives had already secured a federal funding commitment from Shelley Moore Capito .for a new access road con- necting to U.S. 522. "We thought, if we could pull this deal off and per- suade the governor into build- ing the first half of the bypass, the sand mine was going to sell Us the land for the hospital. The sand mine had adequate land close to the river where we could locate the salad company, along with the hiker-biker trail. We thought we had a pretty good economic development scheme," Ford said. "I started with my pre- sentation and probably didn't get more than two sentences into it. I mentioned we want- ed to build a new hospital and that was "it. He looks at me and says, 'Bob, who runs your hospital?'" Ford engineering and estimating recalled, costs for the northern end of When Ford told Manchin the bypass, which was the county was a year and a expected to cost $45 million. half into a 10-year manage- Ford, Stotler and Swaim ment contract with Valley organized a letter-writing Health, the governor replied, campaign in favor of the "You need to be with WVU." bypass after Maddox Ford said Manchin put pointed out that his office him in touch with Highway had received only letters of Commissioner Paul Maddox opposition to the road. to talk about the details of see GOVERNOR page 5 ( rl The Morgan Messenger will be clsedMnday' September 7 in observance of Labor Day. In order to meet the deadline, we must ask that news items and advertisements for the September 9 issue be in by Friday, September 4. Y