In an effort to make our community a better place, 7 news is bringing you "30 Days to a Safer Neighborhood," reports. Our first report starts on drug trafficking in the Ohio Valley and what officials are doing about it.
A report released about two weeks ago states that West Virginia leads the nation in fatal drug overdoses. But this report doesn't seem to surprise anyone we talked to in the area.
"It's really bad. It's the worst I've ever seen in Wheeling," Wheeling resident Joe Matthews said.
And so the U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld stepped in to help and try to do something about the increase of crime and drug activity in the Ohio Valley.
Through government supported funding for a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, or HIDHA, M-HIT was created. M-HIT stands for Mountaineer Highway Interdiction Team. It's a collaborative effort with four local jurisdictions that have full time officers dedicated combat the drug problem in this area.
After a little over a year, drug arrests and busts have more than doubled. And even though the war on drugs is a hard battle, Chief Schwartfeger says he'll never give up on trying to lower it as much as possible.
"Some folks will argue that the drug war is a winless effort, but I disagree with that. I think we're making an impact. I cannot imagine what would happen if we didn't have, not only M-HIT but our drug task force and what they're doing," said Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger.
If you'd like to voice your opinion on drug trafficking in the area of building a better neighborhood, you can comment on our 7 news facebook page. Watch for more safe neighborhood reports throughout the month only on 7 News.