ROSE NOLEN: It's not easy, but let's strive for drug-free communities

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

Probation, treatment, shock detention and incarceration are tools available for officials to deal with people addicted to drugs.

Unfortunately, because of repeat offenses, these tools must be used over and over to try to keep drug use and dealing under control.

Everyone, from law enforcement officials to ordinary citizens, is plagued by this problem. We live in a highly educated society, yet a segment of our population is out of control.

Year after year, new drugs are introduced, and we seem to be unable to manage the flow of illegal substances into our communities.

Currently, Missouri has slightly more than 2,000 people incarcerated for distribution, delivering or manufacturing controlled substances.

People become addicts in many ways.  Some become addicted because their friends are addicted and they want to fit in. Others have family members who are addicts and they learn from them.

I've even heard about mothers who put methamphetamine in a baby bottle to stop a child from crying. Only someone addicted would even think of doing such a thing.

Drug courts have proved successful in helping some addicts. This is a one-time chance to avoid incarceration by participating in a court-supervised treatment program.

When I was a young woman, there were no places where alcoholics could receive treatment, but today there are many such centers. Some day, there may even be public clinics where addicts can be helped.

In the meantime, the cycle of addiction will probably continue.

As Americans, we have to decide how to use our freedom. Do we want to become  wiser?  Do we want to gain the knowledge to cure diseases and overcome our disabilities? Or do we want to use our freedom just to entertain ourselves?

Let’s work to become better. Let's save ourselves and our children. Let’s strive for drug-free communities. We can win this battle.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at

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