Marijuana has dominated the headlines in Flandreau for various reasons the past several months if not years.

The drug, still considered illegal in every corner of South Dakota other than on the Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation, is still often used, abused, sold, and distributed throughout our region. It currently accounts for a significant amount of local police calls and activity.

But marijuana isn’t the only drug local police have been concerned about. For the past couple of years, there has been a growing problem with methamphetamine use, not only in Flandreau but throughout South Dakota.

Locally however, area law enforcement has seen a spike in calls and arrests this month.

“We’ve experienced 59 drug offenses as of July 20th, which already exceeds last year’s total with four months in 2015 left to go,” said Flandreau Police Chief Anthony Schrad.

He added, “We are quickly approaching the 69 total (drug related) offenses we experienced in 2013 and the 62 drug offenses 5 years ago in 2010. Our biggest concern with the increase in drug use is the adverse affect it has on the quality of life for our residents. Our youth are exposed to the abuse and become more susceptible to future drug use themselves.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methamphetamine (also called meth, crystal, chalk, and ice, among other terms) is an extremely addictive stimulant drug that is chemically similar to amphetamine. For those unfamiliar with what it looks like, it takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder.

So that the community is aware, those who use meth long-term often experience anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and mood disturbances and display violent behavior. They may also show symptoms of psychosis, such as paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions.

It is considered one of the fastest growing drug trends in America, and if you look at other states where use has long been high, the drug leaves a path of absolute destruction for users in its wake.

“We plan to address these drug concerns with proactive policing and community involvement. We are a 7 officer department, which is significant for our population size but we certainly cannot be everywhere at once. We rely on our community to keep us abreast on suspicious activity and criminality,” said Schrad.

You’re asked to contact local law enforcement if you notice any suspicious activity or if you know of someone using and you’d like to get them help.

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