As predicted by law enforcement last year, Union County is seeing an increase in meth use and indictments stemming from it.
“We are starting to see a lot more meth,” Union County Prosecutor David Phillips said. “We have seen the progression from cocaine, to prescription drug abuse that morphed into heroin, opiates in general, but mainly heroin. While we do still see a lot of heroin, what we are starting to see is a lot more of methamphetamine.”
The Union County Grand jury has indicted:
– Preston Charles Harrington, 31, of 703 North St., Prospect. Harrington is charged with one count of aggravated possession of drugs stemming from an Aug. 18, incident. At the time, Harrington was arrested with methamphetamine, according to court documents. If convicted, he could face as many as 12 months in prison.
– Gregory Lee Combs, 42, of 142 First St., Marysville. Combs is charged with one count of aggravated possession of drugs. According to court documents, on Jan 20, 2017, Combs was arrested with methamphetamine. If convicted, Combs could face as many as 12 months in prison.
– Sierra Dawn Spradlin, 40, of 343 Center St., Kenton, is charged with one count of aggravated possession of drugs stemming from a May 26 incident. According to court documents, at the time of the arrest, Spradlin was in possession of methamphetamine. If convicted, Spradlin could face as many as 12 months in prison.
– Justin Allan Byrd, 31, of 3578 Main St., Cable. Byrd is charged with one count of aggravated possession of drugs. According to court documents, on May 26, Byrd was arrested with methamphetamine. If convicted, he could face as many as 12 months in prison.
Last year, Lt. Mike Justice, then commander of the Union County Multi-Agency Drug Enforcement Task Force, said while opioids remain the county’s largest drug problem, law enforcement was starting to see an upswing in the use of methamphetamine.
“We are starting to see more and more and more of the meth,” Justice said. “Opioids in general are still number one, but meth is creeping up.”
According to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office: “Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as meth, is a potent and highly addictive stimulant typically produced from over-the-counter cold medications and many other chemicals, including acids and rubbing alcohol. It is sold illegally in pill form, capsules, powder and chunks.”
Justice said the shift toward meth is to be expected. He explained the progression Phillips talked about. He said many drugs have about a 10-year cycle before they begin to decline. He said the opiate cycle will probably be longer, but meth is cutting into the use of heroin.
Phillips said as regulations tightened on prescription medications, addicts moved to heroin as an available substitute. He said as the community responds to the heroin crisis, addicts are looking for another drug.
Justice also said many addicts are taking drugs that either block the user from getting high on opiates or that make the user sick if combined with opiates. While heroin is an opiate, meth is not. He also said Fentanyl and other chemicals have been added to some heroin, increasing the risk of overdosing.
Justice said the shift brings with it increased risks for dangerous meth labs. He said meth can be made in large batches in large labs or in containers as small as a soda can. Regardless of the size, the labs can be very volatile.
Also indicted was:
– Angel R. Patrick, 41, of 20790 Route 47, West Mansfield. Patrick is charged with one count of possession of heroin. According to court documents, Patrick was arrested with heroin Aug. 4.
If convicted, Patrick could be sentenced to as many as 12 months in prison.
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