"It's bad and getting worse…"
That's the overall sentiment of Clay County residents regarding the area drug epidemic.
The Brazil Times asked its online readers last week, "How serious is the drug epidemic in Clay County?" A total of 303 readers responded to the poll.
Readers were given four choices to respond to, including:
* It's bad and getting worse,
* It's bad but due to law enforcement, it's getting better,
* It's no worse here than in other areas, or
* It's not bad at all.
Of the four choices, "It's bad and getting worse," tallied 213 votes (70.3 percent).
A total of 59 respondents (19.5 percent) believes it's bad but due to law enforcement, it's getting better while 25 (8.5 percent) said they believed it was no worse here than in other areas.
A total of six readers (2 percent) said it's not bad at all.
Readers also had the opportunity to comment regarding the website poll question and eight did.
One reader said, "If the community will pitch in and help the police, we can put a dent in the drug business in this county. But if no one steps up and helps, then the problem will continue. This is our community. Let's work to take it back."
Another reader stated, "If the police would actually follow up on 90 percent of their leads, they could get rid of more of the problem," while another reader said, "I think the general public is very unaware of drug problems in Clay County. As a teacher in this county, I see a result of drugs affecting our students more every year."
Another reader also said, "Drugs and users of drugs are totally out of control in Brazil. They bust someone and then just let them walk or stay out on bond forever. When they bust someone for drugs, they need to put them away ASAP and take them off our streets and away from our children. The community put these people in office to protect our city. Boy, is that a joke. I will not give them my vote next time," while another reader said, "I think a lot of the problem is that jail time is just too easy and comfortable. Let the criminals spend their time in a doghouse for a few months and maybe they wouldn't want to come back."
The Times' latest poll question is "Are you starting to feel the pinch at the pump?" Readers are offered three responses, including:
* Absolutely. Gas prices are way out of control,
* At the moment, I'm not feeling the pinch, but I'm sure it's coming, and
* The higher gas prices are not affecting me at all.
As always, readers may also comment regarding the online poll question.