Georgia County Government - October 2008 - (Page 39)

Feature Union County’s New Hope Clinic Helps Community Attack Meth in North Georgia Mountains The New Hope Treatment Center in Blairsville has, in three year’s time, seriously lessened methamphetamine addiction in several local communities here. By Deborah Dewberry, Editor State line before merging into the grand and ancient peaks of the Smokies, the community is famous for rushing mountain streams that yield some of the world’s best trout, not to mention kayaking, hiking and other recreation of national repute. The Appalachian Trail Head is here and state parks in the region are always booked at least a year in advance by avid mountain campers. In the autumn, tourism is so heavy one can hardly navigate the corkscrew roads that lead to the state’s highest peak, Brasstown Bald, from which unfolds a panoramic vista of the region’s spectacular foliage. V irtually all who’ve ever visited Union County and Blairsville will attest to the fact that the community is uncommonly idyllic. Nestled in perhaps the state’s most beautiful setting, the Blue Ridge Mountains that meet the North Carolina An unlikely place for a drug epidemic. But in 2005 the communities in this scenic Blue Ridge region had become famous for another dubious reason. They were fast succumbing to rampant methamphetamine addiction. The problem had to be dealt with, and Union County Commissioner Lamar Paris felt the onus in large part was on the county’s shoulders. He witnessed, with his colleagues in local government, the terrible cost of meth, which seemed to beset many local communities. The county’s justice system was overwhelmed with meth-related offenders, and community-wide ill effects were apparent in the local workforce, which seemed to be succumbing in larger numbers to this pernicious drug. Paris stated, “This drug really slipped up on all North Georgia communities.” Considered the “poor man’s cocaine” owing to the fact that it is easily made in homemade “laboratories,” Paris says meth had become very accessible to people working in jobs common in the North Georgia mountains. It was at this time, in 2004, that meth usage had “peaked” in Georgia. Paris himself had attended a regional task force training conference in Alabama organized to attack the problem head on in the Southeast, recognized as a stronghold for meth trafficking. But how? UNION COUNTY continued on page 40 OCTOBER 2008 39

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - October 2008

Georgia County Government - October 2008
President's Message
County Matters
South Georgia's Agricultural Heartland Welcomes Economic Diversity, High-Tech Research
What Do You Know About the State's 2008 Constitutional Amendments?
Union County's New Hope Clinic
Counties and the Law: U.S. Supreme Court Increases Burden on Defending Age Claims
Cyber Security Awareness
Are Animal Control Costs Out of Control?
Dave Wills Joins ACCG Staff
Executive DRIVE is the Pinnacle of Gwinnett's Leadership Institute
Preventative Medical Program Succeeds in Chatham County
DCA's Planning & Quality Growth Office Reveals New Regional Planning Approach
Implementation of Georgia's Security & Immigration Compliance Act
The Roundabout: Glynn County's Newest Approach to Traffic Management
Governor Urges Preparation for Digital TV Transition
The Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership
Wharton Named Program Director for Georgia Centers for Innovation
Army Ranger Turned Police Officer Attends CDP Training
ACCG Staff Attends National Conference of State Legislatures Summit
ACCG Editor, Forsyth County PIO Garner NACIO Awards
GDEcD News: Tourism Grants; Scan-Tech to Expand
Benefit News: GEBCorp Marks Eight Years of Retirement Benefits
Georgia's Courthouses and the American Renaissance
Extension News: Georgia 4-H Impacts Student Achievement, Leadership
Research Center: Best Methods for Creating Ordinances in Your County
CCAP Corner: Walter F. Rosso, Cusseta-Chattahoochee County
NACo News: Association Sponsors 'Green' Competitions
Beth Bradley Joins ACCG Staff
County Parade
Index of Advertising

Georgia County Government - October 2008