Felony drug arrests surpass a thousand on the year

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - There has been more than a thousand felony drug arrests up to this point which puts us on track for the most in Pennington County history.

Right now we are sitting at 1,010 felony drug arrests which is up almost a hundred compared to this time last year.

This is a growing problem in the county, as last year was a record breaking year in that same statistic.

The main drug police are seeing in these arrest is methamphetamine, but heroin and opioids have been seen here too.

Pennington Country Sheriff Kevin Thom says they are attacking this in a three-prong approach: treatment, education and enforcement.

If people are educated about meth, it could save tax payers more money.

"They aren't sending people into the system, so you aren't burning state's attorney time, public defender time, court time, jail time. So a lot of resources you aren't utilizing if people don't go into the system,” states Thom. β€œIt's cheaper and easier to prevent it than it is to treat it and arrest it. And we need more money for treatment and more money for education prevention.”

On Sept. 24, the new treatment center will open on Kansas City Street which they hope will help combat this issue.