A Facebook group started by a local business owner; Mandi Stevenson met in person last week to discuss ways the community can address the drug problem in Winn Parish.
The Facebook group with 402 members, “Time to Clean Up Winn Parish!! Let’s Get Rid of the Drugs” was started by Stevenson in desperation.” I started this group because I needed help with getting my daughter out of a known drug house in Winnfield,” said Stevenson. “I called the Winnfield Police Department and the Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office, and no one was willing to do even a welfare check,” she stated at the beginning of the meeting that eight people attended.
The group identified concerns and possible ways the community can address them.
- Law enforcement seems to concentrate on jailing drug users, not drug dealers.
- Known drug dealers are “informants,” so they are never arrested.
- What information are the “informants,” providing if no substantial drug arrests are being made in the cities and Winn Parish?
- Children live in known drug houses. What about their safety and well-being?
- Outside police agencies have been contacted, such as the US Marshall’s Office and the Louisiana State Police. We were told that they have to be invited in by local law enforcement. Why doesn’t local law enforcement invite outside agencies in to help?
The group came up with action steps as well. A three-pronged approach was discussed starting with children’s programs, next addressing the actual drug dealing issue as well as developing drug rehabilitation and post-rehabilitation transition programs for addicts.
Tasks were assigned to attendees, and another meeting will be scheduled soon. “I want to invite anyone interested in helping to attend, city and parish law enforcement, the DA, DCFS, anyone who can help said, Stevenson.” “The drug epidemic has touched every town and almost every family in this parish. It’s going to take all of us working together to solve this issue that is tearing our families and our parish apart,” concluded Stevenson.