A multi-layered approach is essential to ensure success at the local level.
Frankfort, Ky. (September 2, 2004) - Local officials representing Kentucky's two largest local government associations, the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) and the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo), announced today their support for Governor Ernie Fletcher's Drug Control Plan.
Governor Fletcher announced last Thursday his plan for the state's first office dedicated to creating a comprehensive assessment, action plan and policy relating to the treatment of the drug problem afflicting the Commonwealth. For local governments, the presence of drugs is more than a law enforcement issue. Officials are also faced with the financial and social responsibility to provide programs and services that ensure a safe and healthy community for their residents.
"Drugs are impacting every region of this state. As local officials, we see first hand the devastation every day." said Webster County Judge-Executive and KACo President Jim Townsend. "From small operations to large labs, the mere presence of drugs in our communities threatens the safety of our children, our businesses and our tourists."
Townsend, who represents all 120 counties in Kentucky, noted that incarceration is not the only answer. "Our jails are consistently housing repeat drug offenders without addressing the root of the problem. Governor Fletcher's Drug Control Policy includes education, treatment and enforcement. That is how we will tackle this disease plaguing the Commonwealth."
Governor Fletcher's announcement named Sylvia L. Lovely, executive director/ CEO for the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) as the interim executive director for the Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP). Officials across the state are confident that Lovely's extensive experience working in local government will serve communities well as they address the drug problem.
"It is an honor for KLC to play a significant role in this bipartisan effort to gain control of a growing problem that threatens the quality of life in our communities," Madisonville Mayor and KLC President Karen L. Cunningham. KLC represents 380 cities, accounting for 90 percent of cities in the state.
One concerned city official reflected over the impact of drugs on his community. In the past year, the fourth class city of Irvine has made over 200 drug related arrests. "It is getting difficult to keep good help," said Irvine Mayor W.T. Williams. "My part time police officers are pushed to capacity, they are forced to work extensive overtime which we must pay and travel outside of city limits just to protect our citizens from the evils associated with drug offenders."
Echoing Williams' sentiment, Perry County Judge-Executive Denny Noble added, "We have generations of young people who are negatively affected by the drug scourge in our community. Governor Fletcher is on target in putting the focus of his efforts on people. Providing access to drug treatment facilities and programs, creating drug courts, and increasing drug prevention initiatives are important steps in fighting drug abuse."
For more information about the Office for Drug Control Policy and the Kentucky Drug Summit visit www.kydrugsummit.ky.gov.