Heroin use is not a problem in Bryan County, according to an assistant district attorney.
Bryan County Assistant District Attorney Tim Webster said he has checked with local officers who handle drug cases and has been told heroin is not prevalent here. He said that several years ago, there were some heroin deaths in the Plano, Texas, and North Dallas areas, but none here.
“Perhaps once a year, we will have someone passing through our area who will be stopped and heroin will be found in a small quantity,” Webster said.
Webster said methamphetamine continues to be the main drug problem in Bryan County. The number of methamphetamine labs have been reduced due to the legislature restricting the sale of pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient for methamphetamine, however, it did not eliminate methamphetamine from the area.
According to Webster, this reduced the amount of “powder” methamphetamine, but then the crystal form began to appear.
“This crystal methamphetamine arrived here through distribution which begins in ‘super labs’ believed to be in Mexico,” Webster said. “Distribution takes place from the source in Mexico through various groups until it arrives in our local area. Thus, chances are good that crystal methamphetamine in Bryan County came from one of the drug cartels in Mexico.”
Approximately two years ago, a new form of methamphetamine manufacturing called the “one-pot” method began to appear in the Bryan County area, according to Webster. He said that, with this method, components are put into a single container such as a soda bottle and mixed for a short time.
“Unlike some of the other methods, this type does not involve an exterior heat source,” Webster said. “It is very volatile and can result in a fire, explosion or injury from the fumes which need to be vented from the container. This method is often used in a moving vehicle due to the fast nature of the process. Since this method began, there has been an increase in manufacturing methamphetamine activity in our area.”
Webster said there are many marijuana cases filed each week, and that the seized marijuana appears to have been commercially grown and imported to Bryan County.
Bryan County, and probably most of the country, has a serious problem with the illegal sale of prescription medications, according to Webster, and many of these medicines are opiate-based or synthetic opiates and have qualities similar to heroin.
He said the number of criminal cases involving these medications is slightly less than those involving methamphetamine.
“This seems to be a growing problem, and the addiction from these substances is difficult to resolve since the original reason for the medication may have been legitimate,” Webster said. “For example, a person may be injured or have surgery and need pain medication. After the pain should have been resolved, the person now perceives the need for the medication due to the addiction. They will present symptoms to their medical provider indicating the need for the medication and ultimately will begin to buy the substance illegally.”
Webster said drug crimes are often viewed as “victimless crimes” or an attempt to “legislate morality,” that the only person harmed is the user. Webster strongly disagrees.
“The reality is that people in active addiction have a difficult time maintaining employment,” he said. “When the job is gone, then other means become necessary to obtain money for drugs, resulting in thefts from victims. In other words, innocent citizens who worked to buy their things have those things stolen for drug money. The further victims are children who are neglected due to parents’ addictions. There is nothing victimless about drug addiction.”
Matt Swearengin can be reached at 924-4388 or DDDEditor@Twitter.com