A clear picture of the current and future status of drugs in Audrain County was provided during an interactive presentation by a guest speaker at the Audrain County Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting held last Thursday in Mexico.
East Central Drug Task Force Sergeant Eric Luechtefeld talked of a heroin epidemic that started in Warren County in 2014 that is on a direct path to Audrain County.
“It’s coming, I promise, you’re going to know when it’s in your county,” Luechtefeld said as he noted the burglaries will double over night.
He said there’s not a war on drugs, but a war on crime.
Audrain County Sheriff Matt Oller added that recent burglaries that were solved were linked to burglary that led to suspects feeding their heroin habit.
“That’s when we knew that it was here, about two months ago,” Sheriff Oller noted.
It’s sold in small quantities. Sheriff Oller noted that it’s sold like 1/10 of the amount sugar in a Sweet’n Low packet.
Luechtefeld said what is sold is white heroin that is likely mixed with a pain killer or an over-the-counter sleep aid.Luechtefeld went on to educate those in attendance on the history of meth in Missouri along with street names for the drug.
He noted how some drug dealers discard meth plastic bottles into a farmer’s field.
The effects of both drugs are different.
“The drug takes their soul,” said Luechtefeld about those people using heroin.
Fentanyl usage was also discussed.
Overdose deaths, according to the Center for Disease Control, has went from around 33,000 in 2012 to 72,000 in 2017 in the United States.
“As a Sheriff that runs a jail, the last thing I want to have in my jail is a heroin addict,” said Sheriff Oller due to the health needs of an addict when they are there.
Also discussed was LSD/acid among other items on a slideshow presentation.
Audrain County Farm Bureau President Barb Wilson said the topic was something everyone needs to be aware of in the community.
Clarissa Cauthorn was the first guest speaker and she told those in attendance about her experience serving on the Young Farmer and Rancher committee with her husband Andrew for two years.
She said during that time, they had an opportunity to meet with other young farmers in the state and meet with legislators to talk to them about things affecting young farmers, including policy.
Cauthorn also talked about the experience gained from their travels from Washington D.C. to Jefferson City.
As she talked about her and Andrew expecting a child.
Todd Hays, Vice-President of the Missouri Farm Bureau, made a few remarks. He took the time to acknowledge Harry Thompson for his eight years of service as State Board Member from District 3.
Hays said some of the things currently being worked on include broadband as he noted a survey taken at the Missouri State Fair.
Hays talked about transportation and noted a Proposition D fuel tax increase set to be on the November ballot. It’s passage could result in more than $400,000 for Audrain County.
Hays also thanked Wilson for her leadership as well as members of the Audrain County Farm Bureau board.
Among the large list of attendees included State Sen. Jeanie Riddle (R-District 10), State Rep. Sara Walsh (District 50), Presiding Commissioner Steven Hobbs, Audrain County Eastern District Commissioner Alan Winders, Audrain County Recorder of Deeds Janis Deimeke, Audrain County Assessor Missy Maupin, District 43 candidate Kent Haden, and Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger. Representatives from offices for Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. Claire McCaskill, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler were also at the meeting.
Patty Fennewald led the Pledge of Allegiance and gave the invocation.
Rep. Jay Houghton was unable to attend the meeting but it was noted that he received the Friend of Agriculture Award.