Over the past few years, deaths from syn­thetic opioids — drugs that react with opioid receptors to act as pain relievers such as mor­phine — have risen more than 500 percent.


Pres­ident Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis — America’s rapidly esca­lating rate of drug abuse and drug-related deaths — a public health emer­gency last week.

Now drug over­doses are the leading cause of death for Amer­icans under 50, according to the New York Times. Some 64,000 people died from overdose last year.

In Hillsdale County, the drug problem begins pri­marily with the abuse of mar­i­juana, metham­phet­a­mines, and heroin.

The Hillsdale County Prosecutor’s Office said it has autho­rized 192 war­rants for com­plaints involving con­trolled sub­stance vio­la­tions since the beginning of the year.

“I would say since I was hired in 2001, the drug problem has become more wide­spread in our county, despite law enforcement efforts,” Hillsdale County Sheriff Sgt. Kevin Bradley said in an email. “Also, we have seen a large shift amongst illicit opiate pre­scription pill users now becoming heroin addicts. In addition, in the last two years we have seen a large increase in the number drug overdose related deaths in Hillsdale County.”

Since Jan. 1, the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office has inves­ti­gated 48 com­plaints involving mar­i­juana-related vio­la­tions, 34 com­plaints involving metham­phet­amine-related vio­la­tions, 10 com­plaints involving heroin-related vio­la­tions, six com­plaints involving syn­thetic nar­cotic related vio­la­tions (typ­i­cally pre­scription nar­cotics), and three com­plaints involving cocaine-related vio­la­tions.

Both mayoral can­di­dates, Mayor Scott Ses­sions and City Coun­cilman Adam Stockford, promised, if elected, to promote city law enforcement so it can combat the problem. Ses­sions said he plans to ensure the police force has funding for training and equipment. Stockford, who said the police need more resources, added that two other ele­ments could benefit the com­munity.

“I think we need more options for addicts, because I don’t think there are enough treatment options in Hillsdale,” he said.”I’d like to see the book thrown at anyone who’s caught selling hard drugs in Hillsdale.”

Regarding treatment options, Stockford empha­sized that bringing more drugs to the com­munity — through pre­scription drugs that help users get off illicit drugs — would harm the patients. He would like to see more doctors licensed by the Drug Enforcement Admin­is­tration in the com­munity but not so they could replace drugs with drugs.

Ses­sions said the city police and the county sheriff’s department work well together.

“They share a lot of infor­mation,” he said. “It’s very important that the com­munity works all together.”

Previous articlePlein-air makes perfect
Next articleA new breed of Lion in Motown
Madeline Fry
Madeline Fry ’18 is the culture editor of the Collegian. She is studying French and journalism at Hillsdale. Growing up in Georgia, she developed a passion for photography, fell in love with Flannery O’Connor, and discovered the multi-purpose pronoun “y’all.” email: | twitter: @ffffrenchfry
  • Hillsdale Is Hell

    Why don’t you count how many CONVICTIONS your county prosecutor/Hillsdale Academy soccer coach gets out of all those war­rants they “authorize?” Send someone over to watch all the trials .… wait, we HAVE no trials! And Has­singer didn’t even know enough law to argue exigent cir­cum­stances for a traffic stop, just stood there slack jawed, knowing it was a bad search, getting admon­ished by the judge. There sure IS some­thing wrong in this county with drugs, but it’s the pros­e­cutors who, with three full time lawyers, a para­legal and a bunch of support staff can’t even MAKE A CASE. Add “diversion” to that (the cash only program that ille­gally pardons drug addicts/dealers) and you pretty much have a total inability to keep drugs off the street. I feel sorry for the cops around here, they get ZERO back up from the incom­pe­tence in the PA’s office.

  • Jen­nifer Melfi

    so at hillsdale, is anyone pushing a legal­ization effort for mar­i­juana?