Friday, 10 February 2017 08:39

Chasing the Dragon: Documentary reflective of local problem

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Hasty talks to the audience. Hasty talks to the audience.

The stories told in the government-produced documentary Chasing the Dragon are reflective of the ones the Roanoke Rapids Police Department sees on the streets when dealing with the opioid addiction problem, Chief Chuck Hasty says.

Hasty aired the video for an audience at his annual Community Forum at Kirkwood Adams Thursday night, and also gave statistical data for the department from 2016.
The video, which can be seen on YouTube, tells the stories of addiction — resurrection by aid of Narcan, criminal charges lodged against addicts and even death after relapse and overdose.
“It’s pretty powerful,” Hasty told the audience after the presentation. “It affects everybody. We’re trying to get our officers trained in crisis intervention to get them (addicts) resources with their problems.”
On the criminal and dealer side, Hasty said, answering a question from the audience, “We’re working with the task force, we’re working to get them federally indicted. A lot of times the state courts don’t do much to them.”
Hasty said the video rings true for this area.“People stealing from their families, responding to OD calls.”
As he reviewed drug statistics early in the forum, Hasty said the heroin problem has been fueled by a crackdown on prescriptions of painkillers. “It’s cheaper, the highs last longer. It’s making a comeback.”
One of the subjects in the documentary said of heroin, “It’s four shots for the price of one pill.”
Hasty said the criminal side of the problem manifests itself through “a lot of car break-ins and residential breaking and enterings.”

Then, said Captain Andy Bryant, Roanoke Rapids officers have responded to nine suspected overdoses, each time those being spared death by the use of Narcan.
There have also been suspected deaths, Bryant said, the police department waiting on autopsy reports for confirmation.
Then there are the donations of Narcan the police department has received.
Bryant said 20, 2 milligram units of Narcan was donated by Project Lazarus last year. Twenty 4 milligram units were donated by the N.C. Harm Reduction Coalition last July. “Of the 4 milligram containers of Narcan, we gave our last dose on February 6. That is a total of 80 milligrams of the drug itself since we received the donation from N.C. Harm Reduction Coalition.”
Of the 2 milligram donations from Project Lazarus, the police department has less than eight of the original donation left, Bryant said. “Many of the times in which Roanoke Rapids Police Department officers have given Narcan, they had to give multiple doses such as 8 milligrams to one patient.”
The age range of those using locally tends to fall in the 19 to 30 category, Hasty said, while Captain Bobby Martin said the earliest age investigators have found was around 12-13 about a year-and-a-half to two years ago.
Officers try to get addicts help, Hasty said. “You can call us. We have plenty of numbers to get you to the right place.”
Master Officer Roy Ball said one of the trends the police department has noticed is people have become scared of calling 911 when there is an overdose for fear of arrest from the items police may find once they have responded — needles, actual drugs and other paraphernalia.
State statutes, he said, have made it now so people can call without fear of repercussions. “As long as it’s a call for help, North Carolina General Statute protects them. Don’t be scared.”

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