Prosecutor on drug epidemic: "Get help now before you get caught"


A recent drug case in Wexford County has sparked concern from the prosecutor.

Jason Elmore says the area has a very serious drug problem, and he wants to see it end immediately.

Two parents in Wexford County, Brandon Wright and Acacia Wright, pleaded guilty Friday to drug and child abuse charges. Their two-year-old was found wandering the parking lot of a Manton motel back in May.

Police found the mother in the room asleep, and the father was not there. Investigators also discovered marijuana and morphine inside their room.

"Which is adjacent to Business-131," said Elmore. "It's a fairly busy highway here in Wexford County. Had it not been for those neighbors, who knows what would have happened to that girl."

Elmore says this case is just one of many that proves how big of a drug Wexford County has.

"According to recent statistics, Wexford County ranks 10th out of 83 counties in the state with marijuana arrests per capita," said Elmore.

He says abuse with methamphetamine, heroin, and other opioids also lands the county at the top.

"Part of the problem here is people getting rehabilitation when they have those chances, when they have those opportunities available to them," Elmore said.

"Not one thing works for everybody," said Laurie Ames, a Certified Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist for Catholic Human Services. "Some folks turn to AA and support groups, some will turn to medication assisted treatment."

Ames is one of many using education to try and prevent these kinds of epidemics.

Up North Prevention has helped to bring Naloxone to all law enforcement agencies in 21 different counties, which to date has helped save 43 lives.

Ames says the opioid overdose is now the number one killer for people under the age of 50 nationwide.

"It is also claiming more lives than the Aids epidemic did at its peak, and it has claimed more lives than Vietnam," Ames says.

No matter what kind of drug it is, Elmore says something has to be done.

"This is something I would love to talk myself out of a job on," he said. "I would love never to prosecute anybody for marijuana, drugs, for putting children at risk. But I can only do so much. Law enforcement can only do so much, the court system can only do so much. It requires that togetherness of everybody helping step forward, helping their friends, helping their family members, or helping themselves."

Elmore says if people come into court with first time drug offenses he will support statute 7411 which gives offenders an opportunity for rehabilitation without a conviction.

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