BATAVIA, OH (Aug. 18, 2020) — Clermont County law enforcement and treatment specialists are noticing an uptick in methamphetamine (or meth) after a slowdown during the spring shutdown of the economy.
The Clermont County Opiate Task Force touched base on drug and alcohol trends in the era of COVID-19 in an Aug. 13 meeting.
Sheriff’s Office Lt. Nick DeRose, commander of the Clermont County Narcotics Task Force, said both volume and prices of meth have increased substantially in July and August. He noted that the county has experienced a rise in cocaine traffic – almost all laced with fentanyl – and LSD in recent weeks.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), also known colloquially as acid, is a hallucinogenic drug. Effects typically include altered thoughts, feelings, and awareness of one’s surroundings. Many users see or hear things that do not exist. Dilated pupils, increased blood pressure, and increased body temperature are typical.
“COVID slowed things down, but come June there was a major increase – mainly a mixture of meth with fentanyl,” said Lt. Matt Green of the Union Township Police Department. “Some are doing meth and cocaine and not knowing they’ve been laced with fentanyl.”
The department has handled 40 overdoses in the past two months, Green said.
People who use meth experience a roller coaster of emotions, members of the task force reported. Many meth users are fidgety with nervous energy. They often experience psychosis, with symptoms including delusions, hallucinations, talking incoherently, and agitation. The person with the condition usually isn’t aware of his or her behavior.
Dr. Shawn Ryan of BrightView said meth causes the body to produce an amount of brain hormones “off the chart.” He added that it’s difficult to normalize the hormones as part of a treatment plan.
Jamie Lutson of Clermont County Municipal Court Probation said she had noticed a big increase in females addicted to meth. Some say they are using the drug to stay awake so they can work and take care of their children.
Lutson added that alcoholic relapses occurred more frequently as treatment programs “came to a screeching halt.”
Lee Ann Watson, associate director of the Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board and co-chair of the Opiate Task Force, said the group will use the input to help target efforts to address the situation.
Nan Cahill, from the office of U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), said the senator and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) along with U.S Representatives Michael McCaul (R-TX) and David Trone (D-MD) introduced the Fighting Emerging Narcotics Through Additional Nations to Yield Lasting (FENTANYL) Results Act to increase global cooperation in the fight against synthetic drug trafficking.