For Cathy McCoy, a nurse practitioner at Webster County Memorial Hospital, the drug problem in Webster County is something that she's been aware of for years now.
"In 1999, I was held at gunpoint while this hospital was robbed for drugs. So it's not anything new," said McCoy.
But now, Webster County Sheriff David Bender has been taking the fight to the community and it's been making a difference. Deputies, along with city and state police in the county, are busting meth labs and drug dealers weekly, sometimes as many as five in a week. Bender said he has the community to thank for making that success possible.
"People work with us, and they give us tips, and we really try to follow up on all the tips we get, and I am proud of the people of Webster County for doing that, for taking a part," said Bender.
Thanks to that outreach, more people know what it is they should be watchful for, especially since materials used to make meth can be found in common items like cold compresses and drain cleaner. McCoy said the community is also keeping more of a watchful eye on each other, too.
"Neighbors are saying, 'oh, I know this guy, he was at my house last week.' So it's becoming more of a community alert system, and I think any time you deal with a problem, you have to educate the population and your community, and they're doing a great job doing that," McCoy said.
Bender said the work is far from over. For every meth lab that's busted, another pops up; every dealer taken off the streets gets replaced. He said he'll keep working, since he sees the damage the drug can cause.
"It's a bad thing for our county. It's a bad thing for the people; what they don't realize is it's killing them. It's killing our younger generation off, and it's sad that they've got into this mess," Bender said.
Bender credits all the county law enforcement, including city and state police, and said the cooperation between agencies makes a big difference as well.