War on drugs

Photo Credit: File photo

No doubt you've heard the term 'war on drugs.'

It's been a fight in this country for forty years, and some say America is not winning this war.

KHQA asked about the battle in Quincy.

The Street Crimes Unit of the Quincy Police Department patrols Quincy's streets, looking for any small violation, such as a license plate light that's out. That gives the officer a chance to pull the car over and see if there are any drugs in the vehicle or if any of the occupants are wanted on outstanding warrants. This is just one of the new ways QPD is fighting the war on drugs.

"Locking people up does not solve drug abuse," said Chief Rob Copley. "It never has, and it never will."

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"It's not the answer for everyone. Certainly it's not the answer for someone who's criminality is essentially their addiction. It's a crime to possess crack cocaine. It's a crime to possess methamphetamine. But most people who are simply users need to address their addiction," says Jon Barnard.

"What is going to change, or at least the hope of changing drug use and abuse is treatment," says Chief Rob Copley.

Chief Rob Copley says if someone is sent to prison for drugs, someone is on the street ready to take their place. And once the drug dealer gets out of jail, they are back on the street dealing drugs again. But that doesn't mean Chief Copley is going to tell his officers to stop arresting drug dealers and sending them to prison.

"You see certain types of drugs being more prevalent at different times. Meth just exploded and was the worst drug epidemic I've seen in my career," says Copley.

Right now, meth has leveled off some. Current popular drugs include crack cocaine and pharmaceutical drugs. Copley says even that ebbs and flows. Copley worries with cuts to state funding for drug treatment and rehabilitation, the war on drugs may continue to be a battle on the streets of America for sometime to come.

One bit of good news, Copley says underage drinking and smoking are down since he started with the department 30 years ago.

He says sometimes that's a leading indicator that other drugs like marijuana may go down in the future.