12/14/2013 6:20 PM
by Rachael Cardin
BECKLEY - State officials and authorities gather on Saturday to release information about additional funds to aid the drug problem in Southern West Virginia.
A new budget passed by the House of Representatives is on its way to the Senate for approval. While Congressman Rahall said the new budget is not perfect. He told Newswatch it does not favor one side of the aisle over the other. Potentially, the new budget is allotting $150,000 thousand dollars to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program. HIDTA hopes to focus on the prescription pill epidemic that's hit Southern West Virginia and caused numerous deaths in the area. The funding will go to new training and methods for prevention.
"I think we've seen tremendous progress; you're seeing it in the media everyday; about arrests and closing down of various pill mills and meth labs. So, yes, I think we are making progress. Are we there yet? No. Will we ever be there, probably not 100 % toward our goal, but we are making progress and that's what counts," said Congressman Rahall.
Chief Tim Deems of the Beckley Police Dept. said, "I think this designation and additional resources will be a game changer for our area and it will help with the problem we've seen; not only with enforcement, but with prevention and education."
Rahall said the decision was non-partisan and aimed at drug solutions across the board.