It was encouraging to see a good turnout for the first public meeting of the Meth Task Force.
We want to congratulate Mayor Dave DeRose, Commissioner Darryl Steele and Annette Gianinetti of the Moffat County Sheriff's Office for spearheading the effort.
They recognized what experts say is a key component in combating the spread of meth addiction in rural communities -- confronting it head on and getting it out in the open.
Public awareness is the first step. It's part of the community's learning curve.
Tuesday's meeting at City Hall provided an opportunity for residents to interact with those on the front lines of the meth battle -- police officers, social workers and prosecutors. District Attorney Bonnie Roesink was there, and she answered pointed questions about how her office handles drug cases.
Those in attendance were urged to sign up for committees. Getting people from all walks of life involved is another way communities can successfully stem the use of meth. Law enforcement can't do it alone. Representatives of the schools, Narcotic Anonymous, businesses, social services, Grand Futures and the media were all present, along with homeowners and residents who want to do something about making their neighborhoods safer.
We've seen awareness growing during the past few months, with several workshops held to make citizens aware of the growing meth menace. Now that there's an organized structure in place via the task force, the community will have to begin putting some thought into tactics.
Should Craig become a "zero tolerance" community that wants to chase addicts out of town, or do we provide some resources for rehabilitation and recovery and try to help people win back their lives?
Those are the kinds of questions that now face the community.
Narcotics Anonymous will become an important resource, and representatives of the organization seemed thankful that the community finally recognized the scope of the problem. But they made it clear that we need more resources to help those in recovery. This isn't a drug you can just walk away from, and a police crackdown and more neighborhood watch groups aren't going to change things overnight.
Addicts have to want to quit, and the task force should begin sketching out a community philosophy that examines this part of the problem.
That will come, but we're thankful to see the community working together to solve a problem that affects all of us.