Law enforcement officials say meth problem is growing in South Dakota

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – An epidemic- that’s what some law enforcement agencies are calling the meth crisis in South Dakota.

The state’s new campaign, “Meth. We’re on it,” is getting attention all across the country. Some people are questioning the name. Whether you like it or not, meth is a problem in South Dakota.

The goal of the campaign video is to encourage people to take action and help fight the meth problem in South Dakota.

According to some law enforcement agencies, it’s a problem that is growing. In fact, Pennington County Sheriff, Kevin Thom says 70 percent of felony drug arrests in Pennington County now involve methamphetamine.

“Our meth numbers continue to increase. We’re on about a six or seven year run of increased numbers in methamphetamine. It’s something we track weekly now, and year-to-date, we’re up from the previous year, which was a record from the year before that,” Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom said.

Sergeant Zachary Cegelske says it’s a similar situation in Minnehaha County.

“Back when I started in 2009, methamphetamine wasn’t as significant. If there was methamphetamine arrest, it was kind of a big deal, where now I look and I read cases and I see methamphetamine arrests, it seems like a common thing, and so we see a lot of methamphetamine arrests,” Minnehaha County Sgt. Zachary Cegelske said.

“There’s more methamphetamine available than there’s ever been, 95%-98% of it comes from across the southern border into the United States. So, there’s more methamphetamine; the purity is higher. It just speaks to the highly addictive nature of methamphetamine. People use it, they get hooked, and it’s hard to get off of,” Thom said.

A problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

“People may not see it as a problem because it doesn’t directly affect them, but there are those second order of effects that might affect them. Those being like the secondary crimes that are being committed by methamphetamine users,” Cegelske said.

“We have to get back to a balanced approach to attack the problem. Prevention and education piece, a treatment piece, and of course, vigorous law enforcement,” Thom said.

Cegelske says they recently added another detective in the narcotics division. Thom says in Pennington County, they just recently held a ribbon cutting for the Care Campus, which offers housing and treatment services.

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