COLUMN GATOR CHOPPIN ..... Observations about Huntington that many residents won't agree with

Updated 1 year ago by David Williams, HNN Freelance Correspondent
COLUMN GATOR CHOPPIN ..... Observations about Huntington that many residents won't agree with

8.  "The new drug rehabilitation program at West Regional Jail will do for crime and repeat offenders what narcan did for overdoses."

Most of the crimes in Huntington are done by the same few handfuls of people.  The repeat offenders are committing multiple crimes a day to support their $100-$200 a day habit.  By arresting certain people there is a dip in crime as they are first arrested and then a spike when they hit the streets. 

These habitual criminals need treatment for chemical dependence.  If they find recovery in jail, they will not continue their crime spree back on the streets.  There are several one man and one woman crime waves in Huntington....treat the waves and reduce the overall crime.


7.  "The problems within the fire department has to do with poor priorities and a lack of following the basics."

The top goal of any fire department should be to put out fires.  The HFD has saved a lot of lives  by helping with overdoses and the chief has become a recovery icon but the effectiveness of the department's firefighting abilities has been jeopardized by taking focus off of the purpose.  It is the responsibility of the fire chief to make sure that the basics are being done.  When the equipment is not operational, the blame starts at the top.  The praise at the top for Heroin(e) is great but the city pays her to make sure to fight fires.  To fight fires we must be prepared to fight fires...and we obviously are not.


6.  Overdoses are down because users are addicted to fentanyl and their tolerance is high....regular heroin isn't overdosing them.

 Quite simply the dope has not has been as good.  The epidemic has gone on so long that user's tolerance is high.  It takes fentanyl to satisfy them.  Most of the drug users feel like the dope they use on a regular basis isn't strong enough to kill them.


5.   Homeless addicts will reside in abandoned houses soon as the weather gets warm with The Prichard Building becoming the next Flats.

Although traffic slowed in abandoned houses over the winter....that was just because of the cold weather.  It still proved to be dangerous because of the abandoned houses catching fire.  Now, that the temperature is getting close to climbing, we will see an increase of 'backpackers' in our area.  These homeless people will again be on meth and run the streets for days without sleeping.  They will hang at abandoned houses where they will sell and do drugs, stash stolen property, and engage in prostitution.  Hopefully, the new trespassing jail sentence will be strictly enforced and deter squatting.

4.  Meth is not only creating a need for recovery treatment but mental health treatment as well.

Putting chemicals that are in meth into your veins like battery acid, Liquid Plummer, and charcoal lighter fluid can well damage your mind as you could expect it to.  Meth causes paranoia and psychosis that can do lasting damage to a user's mental state.


3.  The needle exchange is the most underrated weapon against the drug epidemic.


The most obvious payoff of the needle exchange is the reduction of spreading diseases.

Another advantage that many do not think about is that it begins a relationship between the drug dealer and the health department.  The health department is working closely with counslors from Recovery Point.  The counselors begin the relationship and are there if the users want to talk....this gets the users talking and thinking about recovery.  This relationship has helped get many users into recovery.


Many think there is many needles in public places because of the program.  The truth is there would be more if it wasn't for the needles.  I have been seeing many orange lids but very few needles.  I believe this means users are saving their needles to take back.  I have heard of users going out and looking for needles so they can take them back and get more new ones.

Many of Mayor Steve's political enemies criticized the program to make the mayor look bad.  The truth has always been that without the program there would be more needles because there would be no initiative to save them.  Users would still find needles even if the health department didn't give them away.

2.  Huntington is not one of the most dangerous cities in The United States.


Some websites list Huntington as one of the most dangerous cities in the country.  These sites use data that is figured by capita.  Most murders or violent crimes in Huntington involve people in the drug trade or crimes involving domestic violence.  There is very little random and unrelated to drugs violent crime in Huntington.  Cities like East St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago, and Baltimore are on a whole new level above Huntington and have much more gang activity.  Huntington does have property crime and breakins, but treating inmates in jail for addiction and drug court should help lower the crime rate.


1.  We are close to creating a permanent rehab industry that does not have an exit strategy.

A real danger is that too many businesses have come to our aid to fight the epidemic.  The reality is that these places do not intend on going out of business fast.  The best solution would have been using abandoned properties as MASH type units.  New doctors could have gotten experience and paid back loans by working them.  There could have been many set up and many people admitted and cured quickly.


New business are going to strive to stay in business even if recovery takes hold.  So once Huntington users are cured, the rehabs may recruit users from other areas.  Not everyone graduates the program so it is possible that many drop out and stay in Huntington using drugs creating more addicts.

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