You know things are getting bad when you're hearing reports about people stealing Tide, a laundry detergent, nationwide.

You know things are getting bad when you're hearing reports about people stealing Tide, a laundry detergent, nationwide.


It's worse when you find out that people are now stealing Tide to use as a form of payment for drugs.


I didn't believe one bit of this phenomenon when I first heard about it. Laundry detergent for drugs? That doesn't sound like a fair trade. But believe it or not, folks, it's true, and this is a problem that's gaining steam by the minute.


The problems that have been associated with the Tide thefts include the stolen detergent being sold online at major discounts from the supermarket chains, leading to huge profits for the thieves; but also that it's used as a form of payment for drugs. It's a continued effort by drug addicts to get their fix; they'll give whatever is necessary to get their hands on the drugs they "need." It starts with their life savings, but it quickly escalates to personal possessions, family heirlooms, and, in some cases, their own bodies.


And in a sense, this is all connected, too. People need the money to buy their drugs. So it seems like these people are stealing Tide, selling it on their Internet and making ridiculous profits, and using those profits to buy their drugs. Or they steal the Tide and pawn it off directly to the drug dealers, who in turn make the ridiculous profits. In those situations, it's a win-win for the parties involved — but a lose-lose for all of the citizens who follow the laws like we should be doing.


How do we stop this? We need to be aware of our surroundings. I have come to the conclusion that much of the crime in our cities and towns stems from drug activity. It's the same for a big metropolis, a small town without a post office, and every size in between. We, as citizens, need to speak out when we see or hear something happening. Even if it might feel wrong, if you suspect something's going on, there's no harm in calling your local police department or sheriff's office. Maybe it seems like a simple marijuana deal. But busting a simple, two-person deal could lead to busting a large chain. The local law officials and your neighbors will appreciate your acts of kindness.


And that goes for any other sort of crime, too. Something as simple as graffiti or smashing mailboxes could lead to a much bigger thing. And the police won't know unless someone tells them.


Will we ever solve these issues? Unfortunately, I don't think so — there's just too much going on to truly eradicate crime completely. There will always be troublemakers. But we need to make sure others understand that we won't tolerate drug lords in our country.


Besides, if you really want to steal something, steal someone's kill in the multi-player facet of "Call of Duty." That kind of stealing isn't illegal — and sometimes, it's fun. Especially when you do it to your friends.


Alix Kunkle is the news editor of the Leesville (La.) Daily Leader. You may contact him at news@leesvilledailyleader.com.