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Illegal drug use changing in Augusta area

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Marijuana is still the most commonly used illegal drug in Richmond and Columbia counties, but the second most popular is changing.



Cocaine once held the second spot in Richmond County but has now been surpassed by prescription drugs. In Columbia County, methamphetamine is the second most popular.

Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Allan Rollins said officers are confiscating large amounts of prescription drugs such as hydrocodone, Percocet and Xanex. The drugs are making their way onto the streets through theft of doctor prescription pads, “doctor shopping,” faking illnesses to access medication and some “pill mills” that have been uncovered in the county.

“We focus on everything, but we go where the information takes us,” Rollins said. “Right now we seem to be getting a lot of information on prescription pills – people dealing them and selling them.”

In the past 12 months, narcotics officers have taken “thousands and thousands” of pills off the streets.

During that same period, investigators in Richmond County uncovered 24 methamphetamine labs, confiscated hundreds of pounds of marijuana, five to 10 kilos of cocaine, 183 guns, made more than 1,700 drug related arrests and issued 182 search warrants.

“In the past year, we’ve probably picked up more varieties of drugs than we have in a long time,” Rollins said.

In Columbia County, prescription pills and cocaine cases are not as frequent as ones involving methamphetamine.

Most of the meth investigators are finding in Columbia County is coming from outside of the area as evident from the higher purity of the product.

Police said other drugs are popping up more frequently.

Spice, a synthetic form of marijuana, is appearing in both counties and molly, a powdered form of ecstasy that provides a quicker high, has been found several times in Augusta.

“Spice is an aggravation,” Rollins said of the fairly new drug. “I really worry about people’s health with that ... Anytime we run up on someone selling it, we do our best to put them out of business.”

The sheriff’s office has closed two businesses for selling spice. At one point, officer confiscated more than 7 pounds of the drug.

Whereas spice and molly are fairly new on the streets, older drugs such as heroin and hashish are reappearing in Augusta.

“It’s not significant,” Rollins said, “but it is something we’re looking at because all of a sudden it’s popped back up.”

Rollins said East Augusta, Harrisburg, Meadowbrook and Barton Village are problem areas.

“There’s no place that’s drug-free,” he said. “We would like for it to be, but it seems to go into every neighborhood.”

Both Harrisburg and East Augusta are being helped by potential drug homes being cleaned up or torn down and lots being cleared, Rollins said.

“Nothing can be solved overnight,” Rollins said. “The more we get in there, the more we enforce it, the more search warrants we do, the cleaner and cleaner it’s going to get. It’s a long haul.”

HOW TO HELP YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

Sheriff’s offices in Richmond and Columbia counties urge residents to call with any drug tips.

Police ask callers to give as many details as possible, including vehicle tag numbers and descriptions of people and vehicles. Because the tip line is anonymous, officers often find themselves with too little information and no way to contact the caller for additional information.

Police also ask residents to be patient after providing information. Visible results are sometimes slow as undercover officers and vehicle move into the area to investigate.

“It takes a while to build a case,” said Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Allan Rollins. “Thinking you know something and proving they’re doing it are two different things. It takes a while to where we can prove it and get it in front of a judge.”

Richmond County anonymous tips can be left through the drug hotline at (706) 828-DRUG. Columbia County tips can be let at (706) 541-3910.

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oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 04/22/13 - 12:15 am
3
5
Drug
Unpublished

Tips on containing dope addicts and their illegal drug use: Shoot a drug dealer on sight and then report to the Deputies where to collect the carcas. Also, a warning, pot heads are working to make their drug of choice availiable at your expence in our area.

countyman
21299
Points
countyman 04/22/13 - 01:35 am
1
4
Weird!!!

How come no mention of the problem areas in Columbia County? Also, it's rather interesting there's nothing related towards the second largest county in the metro(Aiken). I didn't hear anything on Mcduffie, Burke, Edgefield, or the new addition in Lincoln either.

Riverman1
90455
Points
Riverman1 04/22/13 - 04:56 am
4
0
The problem is physicians and

The problem is physicians and dentists prescribe way too many narcotics. They are the main pushers. There are way too many seemingly normal people dangerously and illegally driving around under the influence of prescription drugs.

seenitB4
93610
Points
seenitB4 04/22/13 - 07:14 am
3
0
The poor & drugs

I have often wondered how is it.....the poorest among us can afford the drugs...

BamaMan
2637
Points
BamaMan 04/22/13 - 07:46 am
0
0
Prescription pads?

I thought they were a thing of the past, for obvious reasons. My doctor emails prescriptions to the pharmacy.

nanowerx
1359
Points
nanowerx 04/22/13 - 07:54 am
9
2
...

“Nothing can be solved overnight,” Rollins said. “The more we get in there, the more we enforce it, the more search warrants we do, the cleaner and cleaner it’s going to get. It’s a long haul.”

Yeah, the 'Drug War' has been going on since the 70's and hasn't even put a dent in drug use or distribution, it just costs taxpayers billions of dollars. Sorry, but I am sick of my taxmoney going to waste. Not that I am saying it is the problem solver for us exactly, but Portugal legalized all drugs in 2001 and drug abuse went down by over half. This is a proven fact: http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/07/05/ten-years-after-decrimin...

As far as pot goes, just legalize it, tax it and get it over with. No reason that a plant that is hardly harmful and much safer than tobacco and alcohol is still illegal in 48/50 states. All we do by keeping it illegal is empower Mexican cartels and lock up some users for far longer than people in jail for violent crimes! That just makes no sense.

Young Fred
19382
Points
Young Fred 04/22/13 - 08:10 am
3
0
"...“doctor shopping,” faking

"...“doctor shopping,” faking illnesses to access medication..."

"The problem is physicians and dentists prescribe way too many narcotics. They are the main pushers."

I had the same problem with my ex. When going through divorce proceedings I presented as evidence a sack full of empty prescriptions. 17 bottles all proscribed within a 4 week period. Anti-depression, pain killers, muscle relaxers, Valium, etc. Four different doctors and a prescription regime that no sane person would submit themselves to.

The judge looked straight at me and asked to see my phd credentials. When I made the point that only a fool would think this was acceptable I was treated to free room and board for the evening. Well I say “free”. But hey, it was worth it just to see the expression on the robed fool's face. I'm sure he went home that evening all smug in his righteousness. But it was the best $736 I ever spent.

itsanotherday1
46881
Points
itsanotherday1 04/22/13 - 08:11 am
2
1
I second the motion nanowerx

We would be much better off attacking the demand. As long as there is money to be made, dealers will step up with the supply. That is an undeniable fact of life. Same with guns; write all the laws you want, but criminals don't respect laws. The bad guys will find a supplier if they have the cash.

itsanotherday1
46881
Points
itsanotherday1 04/22/13 - 08:15 am
1
0
On second thought, maybe some

On second thought, maybe some pols don't want to get serious about actually curtailing demand. Think about what it would do to certain business segments of there were no drug monies floating around.... Billions would dry up out of the economy.

itsanotherday1
46881
Points
itsanotherday1 04/22/13 - 08:21 am
1
0
Young Fred

It is the system as much as the doctors. In all fairness, if your wife had 4 different doctors prescribing, they wouldn't necesssarily have known what the other guy prescribed.

We just need a better way of crosschecking to ensure someone isn't just collecting prescriptions from multiple docs.

Maybe pharmacies should be required to register scrips for abused drugs into a central database that would flag multiple prescriptions?

Young Fred
19382
Points
Young Fred 04/22/13 - 08:42 am
1
0
"In all fairness, if your

"In all fairness, if your wife had 4 different doctors prescribing, they wouldn't necesssarily have known what the other guy prescribed."

You are correct, they didn't know. That was the point I was trying to make to the judge. Perhaps my heightened state of agitation didn't help matters.

To say that there's a problem is an understatement. So-called legal drugs are just as much a problem as illegal drugs. Except soccer moms stoned out of their gourd on Prozac and valium don't tend to commit armed robbery.

internationallyunknown
4631
Points
internationallyunknown 04/22/13 - 09:57 am
3
0
Doped Up Society

Doctors are the modern day drug dealers.

Doctors receive a "cut" based on the amount and type of pills that are prescribed.

Unlike marijuana, the average person cannot make prersciption pills.....so why not attack the source?

There are commercials telling you to take a pill for this and take a pill for that. Then you will have to take another pill for the side effects of the original pill.....

The powers that be want us to not be sober minded....I wonder why?????

Through govt prescribed durgs and chemicals (vaccination) , we can now see the cancer rates are higher than ever before....so are cases of autisim, shingles, mental disorders, etc.

Get high off of life.....life is what YOU make of it.

internationallyunknown
4631
Points
internationallyunknown 04/22/13 - 10:06 am
2
0
There was a commercial for

There was a commercial for allergy medication. In the commercial, it is stated you should take 1 EVERY DAY of allergy season.....c'mon now.

itsanotherday1
46881
Points
itsanotherday1 04/22/13 - 10:27 am
0
0
I saw this

on the side panel as a related article and copied this comment:

"The law would stop short of requiring doctors or pharmacists to use a state registry to track how much of a painkiller a person is receiving, which some neighboring states have done."

Why the heck not?

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2013-03-21/georgia-lawmakers-ok-...

Young Fred
19382
Points
Young Fred 04/22/13 - 11:29 am
2
1
"Why the heck not?" Because

"Why the heck not?"

Because that would be an intrusion of privacy.

As much as we would like to have a handy-dandy data base of dopeheads, when you add yet another list, you're stealing freedom from your grandchildren.

happychimer
19392
Points
happychimer 04/22/13 - 01:03 pm
0
0
My dr faxes prescriptions.

My dr faxes prescriptions.

triscuit
3223
Points
triscuit 04/22/13 - 03:15 pm
1
0
Riverman, agree about docs

Riverman, agree about docs overprescribing. My son went to ER with a really bad absess. It was taken care of and he was not really in pain when he left. He told doc that. The doc prescribed 30 DAYS worth of painkillers.
Tore up scrip when I got home but that's where it starts...

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 04/23/13 - 02:52 pm
0
0
if meadowbrook, barton
Unpublished

if meadowbrook, barton village, east augusta, and harrisburg are really bad then hey sheriff roundtree why not set up fully functioning, fully manned precincts in those areas put police on the streets, walking the beat, k-9 units...etc oh but i guess he wont do that because he dont want his "people" to get mad at him and call him an "uncle tom"

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 05/02/13 - 12:06 am
0
0
Dope
Unpublished

Drug addicts are not the problem, they are the victims of an addiction. Drug dealers, no matter what other title they may carry, are the problem. To sell, for profit, a harmful substance to anyone is criminal, when the people who buy the drugs die, that is murder. Put drug dealers in jail for ever and the "war" on drugs will be won. Whe there is no where to buy dope the addicts will eventually clean up.

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