By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor
MOUNT VERNON - If you see something related to drug activity report it. Get to know your neighbors. Prevent youth from getting their hands on drugs. Those were three messages expressed by MVPD Captain Scott McKnight and city council members at Saturday morning's anti-drug public meeting held at City Hall.
Council member John Francis, who organized the meeting, opened by reciting the preamble to the United State Constitution which reads, in part:
"We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity...."
"When we have community members who are afraid to say anything, who are afraid to go outside, where does that put us with our blessings of liberty, where is the tranquility and what can we do to better this community for our citizens for domestic tranquility and the general welfare of the people?" said Francis.
Francis refers to the heroin epidemic. Residents of his neighborhood have complained about drug activity and wonder what can be done.
Capt. McKnight said it's not just heroin, but drugs in general.
Overdoses have happened. Used hypodermic needles are found where children play or walk. Rental homes have been boarded up because of drug activity. Children are growing up without parents because they are serving jail time related to drug offenses. Drugs are sold just about anywhere. Three examples shared at the meeting were behind Kroger, on the Public Square, and in church parking lots.
McKnight encourages citizens to report suspicious activity. If you can report the license plate number of a suspicious car that you think may be driven by a drug dealer do it. There are several ways to report:
*Call 9-1-1 if it's an emergency
*Call the crime tip lines and leave a message if it's non-emergent or ongoing: 740-393-9500 in the city, 740-399-3959 in the county
*Call 2-1-1 for community outreach and information
*Send an email to [email protected] (don't send email if it's an emergency such as someone threatening suicide)
Capt. McKnight encourages citizens to use the prescription drug drop-off boxes at both the MVPD and the KCSO offices to get rid of unwanted, unused or expired medication. McKnight says for medication you still need to store it in a lockbox. Criminals who break in to a home to search for drugs will check the medicine cabinets and kitchen cupboards first.
McKnight said youth prevention is where the community needs to be concentrating efforts. A program designed to help parents recognize drug use by their children is called "Hidden in Plain Sight." The Knox Substance Abuse Action Team (KSAAT) will present the program this Tuesday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m.at St. Vincent de Paul School on E. Chestnut Street. You can follow KSAAT on Facebook.