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Judge Richard Wetzel addresses local drug epidemic at MVNU Lecture Artist Series

As the national drug epidemic grows increasingly more serious, different individuals have brought forward solutions to fix this seemingly monumental situation. One of those individuals would be Knox County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Wetzel, who conducted a presentation in the R.R. Hodges Chapel entitled “The Difference Between Calling and Life.”

Judge Wetzel’s presentation covered a myriad of different topics, ranging from the rampant drug abuse being reported in Knox County to need for the younger generation to step up and speak out against drug use. The statistics he listed were very alarming, to the say the least. According to the judge, there has been a huge spike in felony cases in recent years, and the majority of those turn out to be drug related.

“This problem goes to the very core of our society,” Judge Wetzel stated. “We are in a cultural crisis, and we are at war with ourselves.”

An issue that Judge Wetzel frequently referenced was, what he referred to as, “the erosion of values” in our society today. He attributed this societal shift, among other things, to a generational change and the introduction of technology into the lexicon of our daily lives. While it may have seemed that Judge Wetzel is solely focusing on the younger generation, he assured the audience that the intention was to inform, not lecture.

Wetzel mentioned several books that discussed the aforementioned “erosion,” including “The Death of the Grown-Up” written by Diana West and “The Morality of Law” by Lon Fuller. Both of these books, according to Judge Wetzel, expound on the notion that society has lost its sense of values over time.

The presentation also contained some clips from a documentary titled “Hit Back on Heroin”, which was created by Steve Feazel, a local filmmaker from Knox County. All throughout the clips, there were young men and women detailing their accounts with drug addiction and how it affected them. One individual in the documentary mentioned the easability in which a person could potentially become addicted and the subsequent life changes that followed.

Judge Wetzel wrapped up his speech by thanking local business and institutions for their help in the fight against drug abuse. “We must act,” Judge Wetzel said. “This is a ground war and we’ll need to have soldiers to help in the effort.”

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