The seizures point to a disturbing trend that meth is replacing heroin as the new drug of choice that is “going to be a problem for our community,” Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said during a Thursday news conference.
“We’re seeing a huge increase in meth in this community,” Plummer said. “Our heroin addicts were usually pretty low key. These meth addicts are usually up for four days straight. They’re wired. They want to fight. They’re committing a lot of crimes … They are constantly chasing the next high.”
Montgomery County Jail Treatment Coordinator Teresa Russell said inmates who were on meth in previous years were not as “psychotic” as addicts coming in this year. She said jails across the state are reporting similar trends.
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“This time last year, if an individual came in and self-reported that they were using meth, usually as the high went away so did some of the behavior,” Russell said. “Now what we’re seeing is it looks like a permanent psychosis and doctors are struggling to figure out what to treat or how to treat it.”
Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger said the switch from heroin to meth is apparent at his office. In 2014 and 2015, meth was mentioned in five causes of death, and this year it’s estimated to be a factor in 70 deaths, he said.
Harshbarger said his office estimates there will be 260 fewer overdose deaths this year. The Miami Valley Crime Lab, also located at the coroner’s office, is expected to receive 2,500 meth submissions this year, up from 300 last year, he said.
Harshbarger said the health risks are serious, especially with the impurities being mixed with the meth product.
“Basically any pharmaceutical that exists is being put in with the manufacture of these compounds,” he said. “(Meth) is a very toxic compound. It damages and destroys everything it touches.”
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Harshbarger added that unexplainable tumors and infections are being reported nationwide and may be linked to the impurities that are mixed into the drug during manufacturing.
The suspect arrested in Greene County is 30-year-old Michael Bailey; the suspect in the Dayton case is 63-year-old Charles Anthony Minor. Each face drug trafficking and possession charges.