Drug summit addresses meth and opioid problem in Sedgwick County

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Methamphetamine and opioid addictions are on the rise in Sedgwick County. Law enforcement is cracking down on the problem by getting community input. 

The Wichita Crime Commission held a Sedgwick County drug summit Thursday. A panel of experts, including law enforcement, educators, the medical community, and treatment providers, gave a brief overview of the impact drugs are having on the community. 

Marc Bennett, Sedgwick County District Attorney, participated in the panel. He shared some staggering statistics. 

“We know that 11 percent of our cases, people still have a product in their pocket when they get caught.” said Bennett. “That just tells you what a driver of crime methamphetamine is specifically. If we could remove it from the face of the earth, I think our crime rate in Wichita and Sedgwick County and frankly the entire Midwest would go down. “

The drug summit’s goal was to do just that. Discuss community-based solutions to help reduced drug use to lower the crime rate. 

Attendees broke into focus groups to brainstorm solutions like prevention and education and court ordered long-term treatment.

“We’ll come up with a strategic plan involving the folks who were in here today,” said Jeff Easter, Sedgwick County Sheriff. “And start moving towards what we need as a community to combat this problem.” 

Sheriff Easter says the next steps will be to hire a mental health coordinator and a substance abuse coordinator. He hopes to have the new positions established by January 1, 2019. 

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