Boscobel is currently battling a dangerous prescription drug problem and Police Chief Todd Stenner would like parents and students alike to know what to look for and how to prevent future tragedies.
“We’ve had four drug overdoses in the past 14 months, one resulting in the accidental death of an 18-year-old due to a morphine overdose,” Stenner said. “Another involved a fentanyl patch overdose that sent one person to the hospital.”
While Boscobel still has problems with illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, Stenner says the abuse of prescription drugs over the past two years has been particularly troubling.
“Prescription drug abuse has been on the rise, sometimes with deadly consequences,” Stenner said. “We have people selling their prescriptions and those of others, and people need to be aware of the medications they have at home.”
Drug take back
The Boscobel Police Department, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and Boscobel Pharmacy are sponsoring a drug take back at the pharmacy on Saturday, April 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
“All drugs collected will be taken with no questions asked,” Stenner said. “The Boscobel Police Department is committed to protecting the community.”
In addition to the prescription drug take back, the police department is also running drug prevention ads at the Blaine Theater prior to movie showings, as well as print and broadcast public service announcements.
Stenner and his officers have seen a dramatic increase in the abuse of drugs prescribed for attention deficit disorder, including Adderall and Ritalin. Problems have also surfaced with Hydrocodone and Oxycontin, as well as morphine and heroin.
“Basically, all the opiate pharmaceuticals, as well as fentanyl,” Stenner said. “Morphine has been widely used in our community over the past two years. We’ve also found evidence of heroin abuse, including used needles in our streets.”
Stenner said that in addition to education, which he feels is crucial to tackling the city’s drug problem, there are ongoing investigations into criminal activity associated with the problem.
“Our drug arrests are on the rise and investigations are ongoing,” Stenner said. “I take this threat very seriously and I’m going to do whatever I can to stop it.”
Stenner says much of that effort begins at home and parents need to know what to look for. Common signs of suspected drug activity include uncontrollable sweating, vomiting, shaking, itching or scratching, diarrhea, unexplained hair loss and dilated or constricted pupils.
“The laws are a deterrent, but education and information are the best ways to fight this problem,” Stenner said. “Parents need to be aware of their children’s activities. It’s not just the ghetto that has this problem, it’s everywhere.”
Stenner says that if parents see signs of suspected drug activity they shouldn’t hesitate to call his office.
“One if five students has experimented with illegal or prescription drugs,” he said. “I want the community to feel at ease that they can supply the Boscobel Police Department with any pertinent information in an anonymous capacity.”