Concerns voiced to us in recent days about drug-related activity suspected at isolated residences in Hillsboro-as well as other small towns in our county-are understandable, but not easily addressed. Without question, recreational drug use is illegal, dangerous to personal health and a cancer on the social fabric of a community because of other criminal and destructive behavior it tends to attract. For all those reasons, it needs to be eradicated.
But that is easier said than done. Law enforcement is aware of the residences in question, but cannot take legal action on suspicion alone. Officers need hard evidence, and even then their options for action are sometimes limited. Even the occasional arrest does not ensure the problem at a particular location will go away for good.
What’s needed is a team approach. It begins with the resolve of an entire community to be intolerant of drug-related activity, and not turn a blind eye to it. It will take neighbors who are willing to band together when drug activity takes root next door. It will take landlords who look beyond the promise of steady income and exercise discretion when leasing their properties.
Neighborly communities cannot afford to be neighborly toward drug use. -DR