Illicit drugs aren’t just a big-city problem; small towns face the issue as well

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By Cydni Robinson
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

Drugs are an issue that has been present for a very long time. Although there are some places that have a higher rate of drug crimes, it must not be forgotten that they are everywhere — including small rural cities.

According to the St. Johns Police Department Annual Report there were 39 drug crimes there in 2015, a number that is about half compared to 2012 which had 61.

“St. Johns is in the norm. We don’t have an overabundance of drug use, we’re a safe community but I’m not naive to say that we don’t have drug use,” said St. Johns Chief of Police Kyle Knight.

Some of the drugs that are trafficked are: marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, said Knight.

Meanwhile, in DeWitt Township there has been a lot of crimes dealing with mostly legal prescription drugs being used illegally, according to Police Chief Brian Russell.

“We have a lot of people driving under the influence of drugs which can become very dangerous,” said Russell.

Driving under the influence doesn’t only deal with illegal drugs and alcohol, it includes any mood or mind-altering substance, says Diana Julian, substance abuse/program manager and counselor at McAlister Institute.

Julian says being aware that driving under the influence involves prescription drug abuse is very important.

Back in St. Johns, in the last year police have done five search warrants for places that were growing marijuana. Also there has been a few searches for methamphetamine, meth houses or labs. All of which are still ongoing investigations, said Knight.

In St. Johns methamphetamine is one issue that stays under close watch.

“The problem actually started a while ago,” said police officer Matthew Dedyne.

It has increased in use in recent years but its been an issue way before the. The main reason for that is because you can pretty much make it by going to any pharmacy and hardware store and anybody can go buy the proper ingredients that they want, according to Dedyne.

Meth is such a dangerous drug because it’s cheap to get. They call meth a poor man’s cocaine because for one, the high last longer than cocaine, and with cocaine you can’t make it on your own, said Dedyne.

“From the addictive stand point of how highly addictive methamphetamine is and the ease in which you can get the components to make it, that has been the reason in my opinion for the last several years, decade or more of how its kind of exploding,” he said.

According to Dedyne, if you have a meth cook that’s teaching people, and their teaching other people then it kind of spirals out of control and with the addictive nature of that drug you have these people getting hooked on it more than another drug of choice.

Around the end of summer 2015 in downtown St. Johns, police where able to catch a man who allegedly broke into a business in St. Johns and stole a bunch of items and then went online and tried to sell them, said officials. That investigation led police directly to a meth lab.

“When people become addicted to this drug that becomes their purpose for existing almost. So they stop working and contributing to their family and don’t have that income coming in,” said Dedyne.

The family tries to compensate for the loved one and they don’t know how to get them to stop using the substance. There’s a combination of feelings different members of the family feel, said Rocky Hill, Executive Director at Hill Alcohol and Drug Treatment in Temecula, California, specializing in alcohol and drug treatment.

“Often what we see is enabling behaviors where the family will take on different roles. Where one member of the family will be the one to try and protect the abuser, and then another one will feel as though they need to be removed from the house and let them suffer the consequences. Another will be a rescuer and try to get them into treatments and raise the money to pay for the treatment,” Hill said.

When this happens it starts to divide the family and the abuser uses that division to manipulate what’s happening in the system and it can get harder and harder to get the person into treatment, the family eventually can become an obstacle in them getting to treatment overall, said Hill.

For this particular community what happens is when people are addicted to this drug a lot of them will stop working, because they work to get high so what they do then, is when they don’t have enough money to go out and buy the components used to cook meth, you start to see your property crimes increase meaning people go into businesses or houses and break in, steal items then pawn them, said officials.

Federal regulations have made it to where you can only buy 9 grams of cold medicine over the counter. That is about two to three boxes a month, which a normal person should not need because their either 12- or 24- hour pills. These pills contain pseudoephedrine which is one of the key ingredients in meth, Dedyne said.

According to Dedyne, police monitor stores for pseudoephedrine purchases as well as other ingredients and they are able to put people on a watch list. If that person tries to go over they can block them and they then are monitored close

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