Police Department

A night photo of the Morehead Police Department in Morehead, Ky on December 4, 2019. Photo by Makayla Holder / The Trail Blazer

Methamphetamines continue to be a major problem in Morehead and across Eastern Kentucky.

Meth related drug arrests have increased by 1127.27% from 2016 to 2018 in Rowan County, while other drugs like heroin and opioids have dropped in prominence according to the Crime in Kentucky Annual Report.

“Meth went strong for a few years there, then we ran into a phase where we catch a lot of heroin,” said Paul Thomas, a patrolman with the Morehead Police Department. “Then after that heroin went through, now we are seeing meth being on the rise again.”

Since the government cracked down on the opioid crisis, meth has continued to rise in popularity across the United States and remains a leading cause of addiction in Eastern Kentucky, along with fentanyl.

“The drugs can make them feel more pleasure than say, sex and say, food,” said Jason Jones, the Clinical Director at Edgewater Recovery Center. “It becomes not so much a want, but it hijacks the brain in such a way that becomes a need in the mind.”

Meth is a more affordable drug and is one of the reasons it thrives in the region.

According to Jones, both out-of-state and in-state suppliers prey on the poverty, lack of employment and life issues within Appalachian culture.

The issue is one that not many seem to know exactly what to do to fix as the cycle of drugs is always evolving.

“A lot of people are being incarcerated and incarceration has been proven to not be the answer to this epidemic,” said Jones. “It’s a short-term fix to a long-term problem, kind of a band aid on a open cut off arm.”

Thomas said the best way to combat the problem is community communication.

“We’ve gotta have the community on our side in order to help the epidemic going on,” said Thomas. “In order to get to the source of it we’ll need help from the community.”