WESTERNPORT - A member of the clergy in the community of Westernport spoke to the council members recently to offer a possible solution for the area's opioid problem.

By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
WESTERNPORT - A member of the clergy in the community of Westernport would like to offer a possible solution for the area’s opioid problem.
The Rev. John Martin, deacon at St. James Episcopal Church, told the Westernport town government officials recently, “The opioid situation is way, way out of control.”
He also mentioned that he saw first-hand a person die, saying, “He was right there in front of me and then he was gone.”
Martin also said that some addiction to drugs may come from those having surgical procedures and being over-medicated.
Noting that people in the Westernport area who want to get off drugs have no transportation to receive any assistance because, he said, “There is no transportation system” to go the 25 miles to the Cumberland.
Martin said that those addicted to drugs are mostly unemployed and turn to crime because of their habit.
He asked the council members if there was a blighted property located in the community or a house that could “be given over to establish a mobile treatment center.”
Martin said the house could be rehabilitated and put back on the tax rolls.
Telling about the plans for the treatment facility, Martin said that a nurse practitioner and a crisis counselor could make up the staff of the center.
He is investigating grants through the Episcopal Church and in other areas to assist with this program.
Martin had previously spoken to mayor Daniel Laffey concerning identifying a usable house for the treatment center, and Laffey had said at that time nothing was available in Westernport
Martin gave one other need and that was assistance for abused women and children, and “again, they have to travel 25 miles for help.”
In other town business, Laffey announced that “new water bills went out,” and 11 customers were found to have high usage bills.
He said the 11 were notified that there could a water leak somewhere within their house, and of those contacted, “we only heard from two or three.”
Laffey said that if any citizen has a problem concerning their water bill, “we will work with you.”
In addition, two motions were passed during the council meeting, with one being the first reading to approve a bond through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to finance and refinance the water tank project.
The second reading for this motion and vote will take place at the August meeting.
Also, the second reading to adopt the revised code which deals with the governing laws of Westernport, was approved by the council members.
During his report, commissioner Fred Pritts announced a sprig of a white oak tree, the Maryland state tree, was planted by the local Lions Club in the Creekside Park.
The next Westernport council meeting will be held Monday, Aug. 7, at 7 p.m., at the town building