SHORT GAP - Covering several subjects at the Thursday evening town hall meeting at the Short Gap Fire Department, county citizens heard about the Wellness Weekend that is underway in the schools across the county, were introduced to JC Carlton, a former NBA player, and listened as Patsy Koontz, chair for the 18th year of Mineral County Day at the Legislature, presented the list priorities for the January 2018 event.

By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
SHORT GAP - Covering several subjects at the Thursday evening town hall meeting at the Short Gap Fire Department, county citizens heard about the Wellness Weekend that is underway in the schools across the county, were introduced to JC Carlton, a former NBA player, and listened as Patsy Koontz, chair for the 18th year of Mineral County Day at the Legislature, presented the list priorities for the January 2018 event.
Koontz said that Mineral County Day “has many elements,” including presenting the top projects to department heads, and, “Nothing sends a stronger message” during the time meeting with the legislators.
Several of the main priorities mentioned were higher education equalization, promoting the Tier II study along the route to Corridor H, working toward having safety standards created at the Scenic Lane turn in Short Gap, and the installation of a stoplight at the intersection of highway routes 956 and 28.
With discussion on these projects, by far the one priority cited by those in attendance at the town meeting was the opioid crisis throughout the entire state.
State Sen. Charles Trump, who was present at the meeting, said that the legislators are working on this epidemic by make stiffer laws and longer prison terms for those who transport drugs into West Virginia.
“It is hard to break the cycle of those addicted to opioids,” he said, as he quoted the words of the former first lady Nancy Reagan when she told reporters the message is “Just say no to drugs.”
Trump said, “She was right,” and he feels that reaching out to children with this message could be effective in the fight against the rising drug usage in West Virginia.
He told the group the growing number of overdose deaths in the state is up by 20 percent.
Delegate Gary Howell said that President Trump has designated a large portion of federal funding to the state to assist with the drug crisis.
Colby Simpson, chief of the Short Gap Fire Department who has on numerous times been on ambulance calls where opioid overdoses are present, and he called this “reckless behavior,” and he suggested a law be enacted where those overdosing could be determined to be “not in the right mental capacity.”
He said that law could force those with ongoing drug overdose situations into a drug rehabilitation program.
Trump said that help with those that may need hospitalization because of drug usage is also a problem in the state, because, “we have no place to commit them; no places and no beds.”
He gave the price of about $30,000 for a 28-day drug treatment plan, and mentioned the war on drugs has been ongoing for 50 years.
Trump said those facing addiction to opioids are found to “have a rewiring of the function of their brain,” and that is why, “We need to roll up our sleeves, and not throw anyone away.”
“That is why we must start with the young children,” he said, while AJ Root, director of the Mineral County Health Department, said that drug education is available to middle school students, however, “It needs to start with younger students.”
Mineral County Day at the Legislature is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2018.