Arrests related to the use or distribution of narcotics, specifically meth and heroin, have been relatively prevalent over the past year in Jacksonville.
While the issue is by no means specific to Jacksonville or the state of Illinois, the presence of meth and heroin has grown increasingly noticeable in and around the four-county area of Morgan, Scott, Cass and Greene Counties.
Jacksonville Police Chief Adam Mefford, who took over his new position several months ago with the retirement of Tony Grootens, says that Jacksonville is as vulnerable as anywhere in terms of seeing drug-related crimes, and that his department is constantly looking for the most effective ways to tackle or prevent these issues.
“Jacksonville is not immune to these trends and problems. We see kind of an ebb and flow of different kinds of drugs. When we’re talking about the opioids, that covers a wide band of different drugs from prescription medications all the way to the harder drugs like heroin of course. We’re doing our due diligence to try to identify the problem areas, problem people, putting our focus there, using our drug agents and our investigators and our general patrol guys out keeping their eyes open for these types of things. We’re trying to stay ahead of the game so to speak, but it is here, we’re not immune, but we are doing our best to try to combat it,” explains Mefford.
Mefford provides some examples of how law enforcement agencies are devising new ways to combat these issues.
“Law enforcement has done a good job of taking interstates as the mode of commerce for drugs so to speak, they’ve done a good job of trying to shut down those avenues. Of course you can’t stop every car on the interstate, but it does create a unique situation when individuals are, to use a slang term, their own ‘meth cooks.’They’re making their own, which does create a unique situation and a problem because it’s without public help usually,” say Mefford.
Mefford explains some of the methods by which these drugs reach places like Jacksonville.
“I think it’s more of an individual issue, it’s wherever they decide to set up shop. We are also seeing an uptick in mail delivery. It’s a very high-risk for the individuals who are trafficking through the mail but that’s another thing we’re having to combat now. We’re trying to stay on top of that as well but when there’s a will there’s a way so, we’re trying to stay one step ahead but sometimes we’re just walking right alongside,” Mefford says.
To hear more from Mefford on the prevalence of drug-related crimes in Jacksonville and other topics, listen to our full interview in the “Newscasts” tab.