Johnson Co. residents stand together to attack drug problems as a community

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

Lon Castle and his neighbors had a revelation around a year ago.

“Last year two weeks before christmas we had four overdose deaths in two weeks in this one little community,” said Castle, one of the three founders of Van Lear Neighbors United.

Last September, the program was started to keep neighbors informed about problems through monthly meetings.

“We just seen all of drugs and all the thefts and break ins and we just kind of got tired of it and decided we would do something about it,” said Castle.

Castle said that being a victim and having his own home robbed he realized that he needed to get together and talk to his neighbors and try to make a stand. Now just over a year later Castle said around forty people come to the meetings to talk about how they can make a change in their community as well as listen to educators talk about potential problems and ways to get rid of them.

“It's about getting together and contacting our state representatives, our senators and telling what legislation we are interested in to protect our children and our homes,” said Eddie Hazelett, a Commonwealth's Attorney Detective.

Elected officials usually attend the meeting to speak on legislation that the public should be aware of that can keep the communities safe.

“You have got to have the community to watch what's going on to see where the heavy traffic is to see who is selling drugs or to see who is possibly selling drugs,” said Rep. Hubert Collins, (D) of Kentucky’s 97th District.

Police said that they hope more communities will do something similar.

“I wish it would spread because we get less calls here than we did a year ago,” said Johnson County Sheriff Dewayne Price.

“A ot of people place everything on law enforcement's shoulders. a lot of the information we get leads to arrests or investigations,” said Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Clark.

Clark and Price said that the amount of tips they receive makes a huge difference in controlling the problem. For more information, check out the Van Lear Neighbors United Facebook page at

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