That local issue involves a spectrum of crimes that go beyond violations of drug law, Chenango County Sheriff Ernest R. Cutting Jr., said.
“It leads to burglaries,” he said. “It leads to larcenies. It leads to driving while intoxicated, whether it for drugs and/or alcohol. It’s still a major problem.”
“Off the top of my head, I’m going to says it’s 75 percent, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s higher,” Cutting said when asked how much of general crime could be traced back to substance abuse.
Most of the officials agreed that reducing demand is key.
“I don’t think you can start early enough in some of the schools to emphasize the problems with drugs,” Mills said, citing the toll that drug abuse by parents takes on children.
“We’re trying to do our bit here on the enforcement side of things,” Devlin said. “But we have limited resources, our budgets keep getting cut every year, and the problem’s not going away. There’s mental-health issues, there’s different issues that need to be addressed.”
Legalization is not an answer, according to the officials.
“I personally don’t believe in that, but everything has to be looked at,” Devlin said. “Marijuana is not really the big issue. It’s the harder drugs. They’re getting hooked and addicted to these harder drugs, and that seems to be the bigger issue.”
“I think they’re made illegal for a particular reason,” Nayor said. “When people are under the influence of drugs, they do things they would not normally do and society is less safe when people are under the influence of drugs, and there’s a reason they’re controlled substances.”