The local drug problem is Clatsop County's top priority.

In May the county commissioners voted to make the fight against drugs the first of its six goals for the 2005-06 budget year. The list of goals calls for the county to "get serious about solving our drug problem through creative and responsible funding commitments."

"The commissioners are hearing from their constituents that this is a growing concern," he said. "Crime related to meth is growing, there is the impact to familes, friends and neighbors."

In June the commissioners adopted a budget with expanded funding directly aimed at fighting the meth problem, including about $220,000 for additional treatment services for the Drug Court program, and a full-time counselor for the Juvenile Department.

The county is also helping organize a "meth summit," tentatively planned for February 2006, designed as a communitywide conversation about the breadth of the meth problem and ways to fight it.

- Tom Bennett

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