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Drug Arrests Show Fivefold Increase From 1995-1997 In Columbia, Adair Co.

This article first appeared in issue 20, and was written by James Howard Keltner.

Special report

Narcotics arrests in Adair County rose sharply from 1995 to 1997, rising from 41 for the Columbia Police and Adair County Sheriff's Departments and the Kentucky State Police in 1995, to 189 in 1997 for just the two local agencies. KSP figures for the later period are not yet available, but would almost certainly push to total number over 200.

Of the 41 arrests made in 1995, the Columbia Police made 23; 12 for marijuana, four for cocaine, and five for other drug violations. The breakdown between the KSP and the Adair County Sheriff's Department for the other 18 arrests for 1995 is not available.

In 1997 the Columbia Police Department made 142 drug-related arrests. These included 43 for possession of marijuana, 36 for possession of cocaine, three for trafficking in cocaine, 50 for possession of drug paraphernalia, and 10 arrests categorized as "other."

In the same 1997 period, the Adair County Sheriff's officers made 47 narcotics arrests, but a breakdown for specific violations is not available.

These statistics indicate an overall-when KSP arrests are estimated and added in-fivefold increase in narcotics arrests in the two years. While there is speculation as to whether the arrest rate increase is due to more aggressive police work or a dramatic increase in drug activity in the area, law enforcement professionals believe that the latter-that arrest levels correlate to a sharp rise in narcotics activity in the area.

Notably, no arrests were made for possession or sale of methamphetamine, which goes by the street name "crank." Crank is believed to have a brisk market in Columbia and Adair County. Methamphetamine can be made by anyone who has the few dollars needed to buy the chemicals needed to cook the drug. These chemicals are dangerous to cook and can explode or cause fire if the chemist isn't careful. Street talk is that crank is very much a part of local narcotics commerce.

Cocaine now sells for $100 per gram in the local market. Crack cocaine is much cheaper; however the high on crack lasts only 10 to 12 seconds, requiring higher consumption to maintain the high. The cost of crank in the local drug scene is the same as that of crack, but the high for crank lasts 20 to 25 minutes. Which would you buy?

This story was posted on 1998-05-15 12:01:01
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