The well-orchestrated drug sweep by local, state and federal law enforcement agents on Feb. 2 riveted Warren County's attention on a serious, and growing, problem.
But the 40-some arrests certainly didn't eliminate the drug use problem in the county, and we may never know if it even created a substantial dent.
So how serious is the drug problem?
The Times Observer news staff has assembled a week-long series of stories on many aspects of the issue, and some of the numbers contained in those stories are both startling and telling:
85. Judge Maureen Skerda of the Warren County Court of Common Pleas says 85 percent of the cases that come before her have a drug and/or alcohol element attached.
34. Warren County Sheriff Ken Klakamp, who has worked in law enforcement for that many years, says, "To say we're winning the drug war in the county is a foolish statement, but I think we've had a good impact."
88. When Patrick Damond began working at Family Services of Warren County as a substance abuse counselor seven years ago, 63 percent of the clients he saw were there solely because of alcohol and 37 percent were there because of drugs and alcohol. Today, the numbers have flipped dramatically: 12 percent for just alcohol and 88 percent for drugs and alcohol.
12. A year ago, when asked if they had used bath salts only three of 12 female inmates at the Warren County Jail said yes. Dianne Sherman, a counselor at Family Services and founder/director of the House of Hope project, asked the question again recently and 12 of 18 female inmates answered yes.
250. When Dr. Mark Beuger began working at the detox unit at Warren General Hospital in 2003, about 150 cases were handled each year. The number now is closer to 250 annually.
80. The percentage of inmates typically incarcerated at the Warren County Jail who are there on alcohol- and/or drug-related charges.
50. The per day cost per inmate at the Warren County Jail is roughly $50.
13. The age of one recovering addict when she began using drugs and alcohol.
Sherman said, to her, the county's drug problem can be summarized as "this evil that wants to consume our young people."
One of the recurring messages throughout this week's series is that drug addicts can never successfully rehabilitate until they are ready to admit they have a problem.
Is the drug problem in Warren County serious? Unquestionably yes, because even a small problem needs to be confronted seriously.
Can we afford to let our attention wane and not admit the county needs 'rehabilitation'? What do you think?