METH CRISIS: Local law enforcement see record-breaking increase in meth-related cases


    Both say meth-related cases are being filed almost daily.<p>{/p}

    Nearly half of the felony cases prosecuted in Adams County are related to felony meth charges.

    While meth labs seem to be a thing of the past, meth distribution from outside dealers are taking over parts of the Tri States.

    Meth labs were more common years ago because ingredients to make the drug could be bought over the counter.

    The main ingredient, anhydrous, could be found and stolen from farmer's fields.

    But a crackdown on those ingredients has led to a change in the drug's distribution.

    "We're in a crisis for meth, at least in our area," said Adams County Sheriff Brian Vonderhaar.

    A crisis, in an effort to get high, is filling up court dockets and even county jails across the Tri-States.

    "It is the number one charged offense we have here in Adams County,” Sheriff Vonderhaar said. “It is not theft, it is not burglary, it's possession of methamphetamine."

    While the production of methamphetamine and meth labs has fallen over the years, "Much, much easier to get it and bring it in and that is the preferred,” said Adams County States Attorney Gary Farha. “I think the users really, that is basically called ICE. It's a lot different type of meth easier on the person to take, better high, unfortunately we are seeing it brought into our area in record amounts."

    Farha said drug trafficking across national borders and state lines is skyrocketing.

    "I would say most of our meth that comes in here, actually comes from Kansas City,” said Sheriff Vonderhaar. “I mean we even have it down to we know where the distribution centers are for our area."

    "Kansas City is a distribution spot, mainly because it is coming from Mexico,” Farha said.

    Both said meth-related cases are being filed almost daily.

    "I don't have my statistics, but I think we have had 200 felonies filed this year, and I guarantee about half of them are meth related,” Farha said.

    But with crowded jails across the country and lower bonds, the problem is a viscous cycle.

    "What we have to do is get them help, but we cannot stop prosecuting those people who commit crimes,” Farha said. "The problem is, there is not enough treatment centers, there is waiting lists, and if we could immediately get someone into treatment, that would be ideal."

    "If they don't come in with more treatment facilities to where we could get more beds for these places, it isn't going to get any better,” Sheriff Vonderhaar said.

    But the problem is a widespread issue that local officials say will require help from the federal government.

    "I wish the president would stop talking so much about immigration and start talking about drugs coming in,” Farha concluded.

    Farha says his office is looking to crack down on dealers, while finding recovery help for users.

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