The Forest County Drug Task Force spoke with community members on Feb. 20, 2018, at the Potawatomi Carter Casino Hotel (PCCH) about drug use and crime in the Forest County area as well as in the surrounding counties.
Tom Robinson and Tony Crum, Forest County Sheriff’s Department drug task force investigators, presented this in- depth presentation about the epidemic that is not only affecting the nation as a whole but also the very county and towns where we live. Robinson says, “This is what Sgt. Crum and I deal with on a daily basis. There is so much of it going on that it is a common practice in this area. While you are out shopping at the grocery store in town we may be sitting there either arresting or dealing with a drug deal — in the middle of the day, wide open to the public. This is how common and normal this problem has become in this area.”
Sgt. Crum is an expert in drug recognition. As a result of his training and experience, he is aware of what different drugs can do chemically and physically to a person and is able to recognize signs in an individual that tell him what substance that person is using. He talked about this in-depth during this presentation making people in the audience more aware of what to look for in someone who may seem not quite “normal”. He also described many personal experiences of dealing with people who were under the influence of opioids or stimulants and explained some of the differences to look for in determining what they might be using.
The main substance abuse problem in Forest County and maybe on your street is the use of opioids. These are medications that are usually given to relieve pain,
and they do this by blocking the pain receptors in your brain. In addition, they can cause a sense of euphoria and thereby a “high” feeling that is what users seek. Just a few of these names may sound familiar to you, and you may in fact have some of them sitting in your drug cabinet now: oxycodone (OxyContin), morphine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, hydromorphone, tramadol, methadone, fentanyl, suboxone, heroin, etc. Many of these drugs also have common street names that many people may not be familiar with. You can easily research any of this information online or ask someone who works in the field of law enforcement or the medical area if you want to educate yourself on some of these names and other information about these drugs.
As a result of opioid abuse, there is also a high use of heroin in the area. As was explained at this meeting, it has been thought in the recent past that heroin offered a less expensive way to get the “high” an opiate user needs to regain the feeling of normalcy they crave but interestingly, Sgt. Robinson says, “Because of the supply and demand of heroin today we have seen a rise in price and usage just in the past six to eight months here.” Many always thought of heroin as being a “poor man’s” drug but attendees came to find out that the price has quadrupled because of the demand for it. Robinson says, “Heroin sells for $50 per “point” or 1/10 of a gram or $400-$500 per gram.”
Many know, money talks and the drugs mentioned have come to have an outrageous street value. Robinson says, “A 30 mg pill of Oxycodone sells for about $60 each and a 15 mg pill around $30 – $40. The average person does about four pills per day for a total of $240 per day or $87,000 a year. There are several people who are at 20 or more pills a day equaling $1,200 per day.” Just do the math and you will see that people are spending far more on these pills than their annual income.