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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.

Courtesy

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.”

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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: mfry@hillsdale.edu | 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.

    http://www.hillsdale.net/news/20170817/judge-dismisses-all-charges-against-munsell

  • Jen­nifer Melfi

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