RE: Our County’s opioid crisis
Dear Mr. Stanley and the Members of the Board of Supervisors:
About a month and a half ago, possibly two months ago, I wrote to you and enclosed a copy of an article I reviewed while I was in a European airport. I believe I was coming back from Greece when I read the article. At that time, I requested that you all investigate taking action against certain pharmaceutical companies as many localities across the United States have done associated with heroin and opioid deaths. Apparently, the County has done nothing with respect to that. I have also learned that the County is continuing to take active steps in spending taxpayer money to supply NARCAN® and training costs associated with the administration of such. I am told that there is continuing pattern of such purchases because of the amount that is being consumed. I would like to know the cost of such. I find it unconscionable that you continue to demand that I and other law abiding taxpayers, are forced to pay for felons who decide to commit a felony, and voluntarily administer to themselves an illegal drug that is known to lead to an overdose and possibly kill themselves. I would like to know why these people are not being billed and forced to pay for such medications and why I as a taxpayer am forced to pay for their self-indulgence and selfishness. Bill their insurance or Medicaid for the medication like any hospital would. I would like a strong public policy argument as to why I should have to continue to pay for such. Can you provide such?
I find it rather shocking that the County still has not done something to start to recover the costs associated with the opioid crisis. Why you think the taxpayer should continue to fund such is baffling. Please explain to me why the taxpayers of Warren County should continue to have to fund this opioid crisis and treatment program which only encourages more use of such opioids. Your policy is wrongheaded. Your policy will only continue to encourage people to use illegal drugs that could result in an overdose knowing full well they maybe be brought back or saved.
Further, the County should be suing those that are selling the illegal drugs to pay for the mess they, have created. We know who some of the distributors are, they are those charged with distribution. Sue them. Not just pharmaceutical companies, but these felons. Make them pay civilly too, not just criminally.
Both the Town and County continue to allow certain businesses to operate in the Town and County that permit and maybe encourage such activity to occur. If the County and its EDA really wanted to improve our economic potential, they would get rid of all these crappy hotels that rent rooms by the week to opiate addicts. Buy the properties with the power of eminent domain and tear them down for redevelopment rather than building the most expensive “workforce housing” ever dreamt up. If you remove the ability and cheap place for these addicts to stay, hopefully they will move on and out of our community. Don’t you think it is high time that you re-evaluate your current game plan on how to address this crisis? I mean, clearly your current plan is an abject failure.
Your current EDA director absolutely is terrible. And at best several on the EDA board are ineffective at best since they retain her and elect as its chairman someone who hasn’t worked in the private sector for at least 15 years, if ever, and never in industry. You have an executive director that clearly does not understand the appearance of impropriety in dealing with family members and who has pushed an absolutely absurd position on “workforce housing.”
The County has continued to appoint people who have no idea what is going on outside of the Warren County economic area. I dare say, anyone, save Messers. Biggs, Blanton and Llewellyn know how to and have actually made “real” money and to work with large domestic and international entities on striking good business deals. At least three on the Board either do or did work for governmental bodies or a not-for-profit. How on earth does this make them the proper people to seek privately invested industrial and economic growth or as to what it takes to attract such? I very much doubt that most on the EDA are aware that just two counties away, in Loudoun, that their economic development team brought into their county in fiscal 2017 (ending June 30, 2017) $3.3 billion in business development. It shattered all previous records, not just in the Commonwealth, but for all counties the size of Loudoun in America. (See enclosure.) I wonder how many in our county actually how much “good” growth is occurring in counties immediately adjoining us as well as two or three counties away and of their marketing activities. These counties have done away with these crappy hotels that encourage criminal behavior and conduct and have developed plans to increase the quality of life to attract major investment. They get “business friendly.” It is a term that Front Royal really needs to learn.
Rather than continue to fund an ill-functioning EDA that creates taxpayer black holes, you should insist that the EDA develop a two, five, and ten year plan for our community and actually share it with the community. The secrecy associated with the EDA, which you all have by silence encouraged, is a problem. There is zero accountability of the EDA executive director and it seems that you all do not wish for there to be any accountability which is also a problem. The fact that our EDA is excited that a new fast food operation is opening up is telling. When Stephen Heavener was the director of the local EDA we had much more investment in our community. Maybe it is time to hire someone who has real world experience in such and has a track record of actual success.
I am sorry that I have to address this letter to you. I wish I felt pleased with progress in our community, but I do not. Rather than only being someone that criticizes, I am also someone who is willing to help, if called upon. However, I doubt that the leadership of the County has that capability to admit they need help.
David W. Silek, Esq.
Editor’s Note: The above letter was mailed to Warren County Administrator Douglas P. Stanley and each member of the Warren County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 27, 2017. A copy was also mailed to the Royal Examiner.