CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — An advanced alcohol and drug counselor with Prestera Center says addictions are not moral failings.

“The first thing that any of us can do is start to see this problem as the disease that it is,” said Kim Miller.

Miller is the Director of Corporate Development for Prestera Center which has 53 locations in eight West Virginia counties treating 20,000 adults, kids and families for addictions and mental health.

She said the face of addiction has changed in a dramatic way in recent years as the prescription drug abuse epidemic has grown.

The typical person who used to seek treatment was a 35 to 45 year old man addicted to alcohol.

“We (now) see more people in the 18 to 25 year old category coming in the door, not with alcohol problems or it was customary to see a lot of marijuana use and abuse, but now we see people with very strong problems with opiate prescription medication,” said Miller.

She was a guest on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline” along with Clarksburg Police Chief Jimmy Chamberlin who was part of a neighborhood watch meeting in Clarksburg on Monday night.

That meeting was previously scheduled, but drew more people following last Friday’s shooting deaths of Christopher A. Hart, 26, Todd Russell Amos, 29, Fred Swiger, 70 and Freddie Swiger, 47, in Clarksburg.

The Swigers were delivering newspapers at the time.

Sidney Muller, 27, a Marine Corps veteran from Harrison County, is charged with four counts of first degree murder for shooting and killing the four after allegedly going to a Locust Avenue home to collect a $10,000 drug debt for pills.

Deputy Chief Chamberlin said everyone has a role to play in community safety.

“It’s going to take a group effort, just not one person, not one entity, to correct the problem,” he said.  “We have to have a collaborative effort with other agencies and, I think, that we do do that.”

Too often, he said addictions fuel crimes.

Del. Don Perdue (D-Wayne) is the Chairman of the House Health Committee.  He said there are four steps, called the “Golden Quadrilateral ,” that must be addressed when it comes to addiction.  They are prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery.

“Addiction is a true disease,” he said.  “There are functions of the brain that are being, actually that you compel to act in a certain way because you’ve injected this virus of a pain medication.”

A preliminary hearing for Muller on the murder charges is scheduled for Thursday morning in front of Harrison County Magistrate Frank DeMarco.

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  • West Virginian

    When a person is 'jailed' for a couple years and goes w/o drugs, then gets out and resumes doing drugs, he/she is doing drugs because they want to, not because they are addicted.

  • 1smartone

    Sure they see it as a disease!! It is what they do for a living. If you just see it as morally wrong...and change your ways (cold turkey) they don't get paid. I am not saying everyone can or should attempt to overcome addition on their own. But there does come a time in your life where you do make the conscience and moral decision to do what you know is wrong.

  • AX MAN

    Miller, Disease??? Miller, You need to get off the drugs.

  • leroy jethro gibbs

    pain meds only for 10 days after surgery or a broken bone and only cancer patients get long term meds


    Phohibit pain medication. Period. End of story. My parents and grandparents survived without it.

  • blugldmn

    Being addicted to drugs is not a moral failing? but stealing your neighbors property to buy drugs is!