Moving from opioids to meth: Region’s prosecutors see shift in drug usage

Region’s prosecutors see shift in drug usage

By Gary Huffenberger - and McKenzie Caldwell - Aim Media Midwest

WILMINGTON — County prosecutors in Clinton and Highland Counties recently have seen an increase in meth possession, and both of them remark that history shows drug use goes in a cycle.

“We’re getting more meth [cases],” said Clinton County Prosecutor Richard “Rick” W. Moyer. But opioids are still out there also, he said, including pills found during traffic stops on Interstate 71 in the county.

Staff at the Clinton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office lately has seen a few cocaine cases, but “not much,” Moyer said.

The News Journal’s sister publication in Hillsboro, The Times-Gazette, reported recently that opioid usage has been decreasing in Highland County as users turn to methamphetamine. Highland County Prosecuting Attorney Anneka Collins told The Times-Gazette she’s seen a decrease in cases involving opioid possession and an increase in those involving meth possession.

As to why there’s been something of a shift, both county prosecutors speak of drug use having a cycle.

Moyer said, “Everything kind of circulates around. You kind of run through certain drugs and then come back again.”

Similarly, Collins said, “Highland County had one of the highest rates of meth use in the state prior to the opioid crisis. Drugs just go in a cycle. For a while it’ll be meth, and then it’ll go to something else.”

Moyer observed that the best source as to why a change is occurring would be the drug users themselves. He personally doesn’t know whether fear of dying from an opioid overdose has much to do with it.

Collins said, “Some people told me that the reason they quit using heroin and went meth was because they know what’s in meth, whereas with heroin, there’s a chance you’re buying fentanyl, which is more deadly.”

Moyer noted the ordinary man-on-the-street can make meth.

And although overdose deaths from heroin have received a lot of media attention, the Clinton County prosecutor points out, “If you use enough meth, you are signing your own death certificate. It just might take longer.”

Methamphetamine “eats your body up,” said Moyer.

Besides, with illegal drugs in general, “You are just gambling with your life, flipping a coin,” he said.

Monica Hill and Sharon Yockey of Transformative Wellness, LLC in Wilmington told the News Journal that meth addiction has been happening a lot longer than most realize.

“(Meth) is the cheapest drug out there and the easiest to make,” said Hill, COO and counselor at Transformative Wellness. “Opioids can come from big cities, whereas meth can be cooked right here.”

Yockey, CEO and counselor, said in many cases addicts will use meth as a way of dealing with withdrawal symptoms.

Both Hill and Yockey said meth users may use it to overcome mental illnesses.

“They may use it as a cheap ADHD medication,” said Hill. “Some feel like it can help get so much done.”

Hill, Yockey, and Michelle Box, outpatient director of Solutions in Wilmington, all believe the stigma surrounding addicts should be stopped and should offer help.

“Be informed about what addiction is really about,” said Hill. “It’s more than just going out and doing drugs; addiction becomes life-consuming and it’d be nice for people to know that and remove the stigma so that they can reach out and help instead of turning your back.”

Box added, “Quick access to help is important. When someone gets the guts to come in, we need to help.”

How to help

If an addict is in an emergency situation, such as a life or death one, people should contact emergency services.

For addiction treatment, both Solutions and Transformative Wellness provide services to overcome addiction.

For more information, contact:

• Solutions at 937-383-4441 or visit their website .

• Transformative Wellness at 855-553-9355 or visit their website .

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 and McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.
Region’s prosecutors see shift in drug usage

By Gary Huffenberger

and McKenzie Caldwell

Aim Media Midwest