According to Reno County Sheriff Randy Henderson, four people have suffered drug-related deaths in the last 30 thirty days, prompting officials to find ways to help the increasing drug problem.
“We’re fighting a different front than we’ve seen here in,” Sheriff Henderson said.
Twelve people have died because of drugs in Reno County this year and a majority of those happening in just an eight day period.
“This has really impacted our community,” Sheriff Henderson said. “We don’t know exactly what type of drugs or the circumstances behind each case. We just know that’s too many.”
The sheriff is now asking for outside help to get the problem under control. He said his office is looking into more grants for education and a closer partnership with organizations in the area.
While drugs are nothing new, Sheriff Henderson said there are different aspects now than in the past.
“The death part is new to us,” Sheriff Henderson said. “We had a big meth problems back in the 90’s and cocaine and crack cocaine. Now, we’ve added the opioids in, the heroine, the fentanyl, those kinds of things.”
Michael Hill is a recovering addict who now helps those suffering from addiction inside the Reno County Corrections Facility. Hill and Oxford Houses of Kansas state chairman, Seth Dewey knew some of the people who died from drugs recently.
“I helped those people,” Hill said. “I did everything I could do and it wasn’t enough. We’re trying to hit it where it starts instead of waiting generations later when it’s affecting these kids that are growing up in our system now.”
Dewey said educating people about drugs and opening up the conversation is important.
“The awareness to where people can talk about it hopefully at their kitchen tables with their children because awareness is key in a situation like this,” Dewey said.
In efforts to educate the public about the on-going drug problem, a rally has been set for Saturday, Nov. 3 at 2:00 in Hutchinson. The silent march will begin at 17th St. and Main Street. Organizers said the silent march will show the gravity of the drug situation. Supporters will march to George Pyle Park where information about drugs and solutions will be discussed.