Photo by Max Darrow
The Opioid epidemic is a serious issue, and it’s one that continues to plague many communities all across America. One of the counties that have been heavily hit by the crisis is actually one of Clark County’s nearby neighbors. Unfortunately, we’re talking about Mohave County, Arizona.
And one of the people who have to deal with the adverse effects of this issue day in and day out is Will Jones, the Deputy Sheriff of the Mohave County. Each day, he patrols the county’s streets. According to him, he’s basically seen it all, from synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, to heroin and prescription pills.
Jones says that there is no age group exempt from this issue. They’ve arrested perps of all ages.
In fact, this has become such a problem for the county that Jones claims there’s a solid chance that every single person he stops in the street will have had some sort of contact with opioids, either by having them in their possession or by knowing someone who does.
The local police force have come across such a multitude of people who have abused opioids that at this point they’re not shocked by such sights any longer. As Jones says — once you’ve been dealing with something for so long, it basically becomes normal.
And unfortunately, it is normal enough for Jones to frequently find himself talking to people about their previous or current drug habits. During a news ride-along with Deputy Sheriff Jones, he asked a few people what their drug of choice was or when they had last used heroin.
Right now, Mohave County is one among several American counties that intend to file a suit against a multitude of opioid producers. Mainly, they’re asking to recoup damages. According to County officials, the manufacturers were reckless in their marketing campaigns. They claimed that strong narcotics were an effective and safe treatment for pain, and they distributed them to tens of millions of Americans. And that went on even when the producers knew what was going on in certain communities, in terms of illicit use.
According to the Deputy Sheriff, chronic drug-use has had disastrous consequences in his county, including a rise in different types of crimes. And in this process, the most affected victims have been normal citizens, who have not abused drugs.
When it comes to narcotics, people will refrain from nothing to get their next high. That’s why there have been more burglaries and thefts in the area, as the opioid crisis has gained steam. And that’s why people have been committing these crimes — they needed to generate the money for their next fix.
Jones said that this was in line with his experiences from the county streets. He’s seen all kinds of crimes committed to get money for drugs. And this has also changed the way police approach their jobs.
For one, police officers now have to carry Narcan with them at all times. The reasons for that are twofold — they need to be able to protect their fellow officers and themselves. But, also, they need to be able to bring back a perpetrator that has overdosed before taking them to hospital.
Police officers usually keep it in their pockets. Although, in many cases, a medic is there to administer it themselves. But still, officers have to be prepared for every eventuality.
Sheriff Schuster has added that his goal isn’t to simply lock up everyone who has used drugs. Not only is that impossible, but it also does nothing to help the county with its actual problems. His end game is simple but difficult — to get everyone clean.