Drug problem real, out of control an exageration


By Chris Cooper - ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com



Jacky Hunt, Director of the South Central Kentucky Drug Task Force (SCKDTF) and its agents, battle illegal drug abuse on a daily basis. They are in tune with drug activity going on in the areas of Logan and Simpson counties, as well as the cities of Russellville and Franklin, where they serve. Hunt does not dispute there is a drug problem in these areas, one that keeps his agency extremely busy and on the go, however, he does not believe the situation to be “out of control,” as described by one Logan County Magistrate recently.

First District Magistrate Dickie Carter has expressed his concern for the drug problem in Logan County in open court. He said he doesn’t have the answers, but he believes what is being done about it is not working, and it’s “out of control.” Carter has stated he isn’t bashing the agencies who fight drug abuse, but believes something else needs to be done.

“We do have a drug problem, but it’s too broad a statement to say it is out of control,” Hunt said. “Local law enforcement do a wonderful job at fighting illegal drugs abuse. Both Logan County Sheriff Wallace Whittaker and Russellville Police Chief Victor Shifflett and their departments work diligently in their efforts of drug enforcement. To say that the drug problem is out of control is misleading and says we are not out here enforcing the law. We are blessed with dedicated law enforcement who care about their communities.”

One of the main objectives of the drug task force, said Hunt is education. The task force works as a community partner in educating the young people and adults on the dangers of drug abuse. The task force, in conjunction with the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Board, is bringing David Parnell, a recovering methamphetamine addict to Logan and Simpson Counties to speak on his experiences.

“It is extremely important to work together in the community to educate the youth,” said Hunt. “This is imperative to stop drug abuse.”

Hunt said the South Central Kentucky Task Force works on a shrinking budget, but that doesn’t stop them from hitting the problem every day. The task force was created in 2004 and is funded in most part by federal funding. It is governed by a board made up of judge executives, sheriffs, police chiefs, and the Commonwealth and County Attorneys. Each participating county-city provides officers to serve on the force. Logan County provides a central office, while Simpson provides a satellite office.

“Logan County is very fortunate to have a multi-jurisdictional drug task force,” said Hunt. “There are many counties that do not have an agency specifically designated to fighting just illegal drug activity. I have been to these places and the difference is astronomical.”

“The war on drugs is so much more organized than it once was,” said Hunt. “The communication between agencies is at an all-time high.” Before, Hunt added, agencies did not communicate, but now that has all changed locally, statewide and nationally.

Hunt is a retired Kentucky State Police Detective. He spent years as a narcotics detective for the state. He currently is a board member on the Kentucky Narcotics Officers Association which is part of the National Association. The agencies meet to discuss state and national level drug problems. Hunt recently visited Washington D.C. and met with legislators to discuss illegal drug activity in both Kentucky and the nation.

“Yes, there are drugs here, and yes we are fighting them to keep them off the streets,” said Hunt. “But speaking from the people that do this every single day, Logan County and Russellville are outstanding places to live. It’s a great community with great people that must not be overshadowed by fear.”

By Chris Cooper

ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com

To contact Chris Cooper, email ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com or call 270-726-8394.

To contact Chris Cooper, email ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com or call 270-726-8394.

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