Drug Task Force
The main objectives of the Drug Task Force is the investigation of individuals and organizations involved in narcotics trafficking, the seizure of assets acquired through narcotics trafficking, and the promotion of coordinated narcotics enforcement efforts among various law enforcement agencies within the county.
The Miller County Drug Task Force will use every legal means available to search out and eliminate drug trafficking within Miller County. Where evidence is found to point to drugs emanating from another jurisdiction, the Drug Task Force will make every effort to work with other agencies from that jurisdiction to eradicate the flow of illegal drugs into Miller County. The officers who comprise the work force of the Drug Task Force will take a proactive approach to policing, using the concept of a totally integrated team effort by all officers. All agencies within Miller County will receive enthusiastic support and assistance from the Drug Task Force in their efforts to effectively control and eradicate the social problem of Narcotics trafficking and use.
The Drug Task Force would not be effective without the help provided by the community. If you have any information regarding narcotics activity, call the Drug Task Force at 573-369-2341 Ext. 704 or send an anonymous tip by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Drug Task Force
Miller County is a member of the Mid Missouri Multi Jurisdiction Drug Task Force (MMMJDTF) serving in six area counties including Morgan, Miller, Benton, Osage, Moniteau, and Pettis.
The MMMJDTF is dedicated to stopping illegal drug activity. Citizens with information regarding such illicit acts are urged to contact the Miller County Sheriff’s Office.
Information on illicit drugs
Methamphetamine Often referred to as Meth, Speed, Ice, Dope, Crystal, Go Fast, and many others. Methamphetamine is extremely addictive and one of the most abused drugs in Miller County. It is easily manufactured by drug users, dealers, and manufacturers. It is dangerous to make and the product and process known to cause various cancers and other health problems. Methamphetamine is most frequently snorted, smoked, injected, and occasionally ingested through drinks or food. A main requirement in manufacturing process is pseudoephedrine, commonly sold in certain cold medicines at pharmacies. Cooks of the drug have networks of people who will travel many miles to obtain precursors such as the cold tablets even with the current pharmacy laws in place. Many users prefer the ICE or extremely high quality methamphetamine typically manufactured in Mexico or by the Mexican Drug Cartels and Drug Trafficking Organizations in large labs where multiple pounds of ICE are produced in one cook. Methamphetamine is typically sold by the ¼ gram, ½ gram, gram, 8 –ball (3 ½ grams), ¼ ounce or even ounce. A gram of meth will easily sell for $100 and there are 28 grams in an ounce. Methamphetamine will often keep the user up for long periods of time or even several days. Irrational and violent behavior is associated with the drug use. How do I recognize a methamphetamine lab? Many people may be unaware that they're living near a meth lab. Here are some things to look for:
- Unusual, strong odors like cat urine, ether, ammonia, acetone or other chemicals.
- Residences with windows blacked out.
- Open windows vented with fans during the winter.
- Renters who pay their landlords in cash. Most drug dealers trade exclusively in cash.
- Lots of traffic. People coming and going at unusual times. There may be little traffic during the day, but at night the activity increases dramatically.
- Excessive trash including large amounts of items such as: antifreeze containers, lantern fuel cans, engine starting fluid cans, HEET cans, lithium batteries and empty battery packages, wrappers, red chemically stained coffee filters, drain cleaner and duct tape.
- Unusual amounts of clear glass containers being brought into the home.
- Many of the chemicals used to produce methamphetamine can be found in common household items such as lantern fuel, cleaners, acetone, muriatic acid, and diet pills.
- Coffee filter with residue from meth manufacture process.
There are many different methods for producing methamphetamine. Each method has its own inherent dangers. Many of the chemicals used are caustic or corrosive, and some of the processes create noxious and harmful fumes. If you suspect a meth lab, leave at once and report it. Do not open any coolers. Do not touch any items. Handling methamphetamine waste residue can burn your skin and eyes, and breathing in the gases can send you to the hospital. Handling these chemicals with unprotected skin, or getting the dust in your eyes can cause serious damage. To avoid the possibility of fire, explosion, death or serious illness, only trained and properly equipped workers can dismantle a lab and take the remnants away for disposal. Weapons are very common in meth labs. People who use meth are very paranoid about everything. They are worried that they will be caught by law enforcement and will use any means to not get caught. If you suspect a meth lab in your neighborhood, call the Miller County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line, 573-522-7189.
Marijuana Marijuana is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. In a more concentrated, resinous form, it is called hashish, and as a sticky black liquid, hash oil. The main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Marijuana is the most common illicit drug used in the United States. After a period of decline in the last decade, its use has generally increased among young people since 2007, corresponding to a diminishing perception of the drug’s risks. More teenagers are now current (past-month) smokers of marijuana than of cigarettes, according to annual survey data.
How is Marijuana Abused? Marijuana is usually smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints) or in pipes or water pipes (bongs). It is also smoked in blunts—cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with a mixture of marijuana and tobacco. Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour, odor. Marijuana can also be mixed in food or brewed as a tea.
How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain? When marijuana is smoked, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body. It is absorbed more slowly when ingested in food or drink. However it is ingested, THC acts upon specific molecular targets on brain cells, called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are ordinarily activated by chemicals similar to THC called endocannabinoids, such as anandamide. These are naturally occurring in the body and are part of a neural communication network (the endocannabinoid system) that plays an important role in normal brain development and function. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors is found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. Marijuana over activates the endocannabinoid system, causing the high and other effects that users experience. These include distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning and memory.
Effects on Life Research clearly demonstrates that marijuana has the potential to cause problems in daily life or make a person's existing problems worse. In fact, heavy marijuana users generally report lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health, relationship problems, and less academic and career success compared to their peers who came from similar backgrounds. For example, marijuana use is associated with a higher likelihood of dropping out from school. Several studies also associate workers' marijuana smoking with increased absences, tardiness, accidents, workers' compensation claims, and job turnover. Research has shown that, in chronic users, marijuana's adverse impact on learning and memory persists after the acute effects of the drug wear off; when marijuana use begins in adolescence, the effects may persist for many years. Research from different areas is converging on the fact that regular marijuana use by young people can have long-lasting negative impact on the structure and function of their brains. A recent study of marijuana users who began using in adolescence revealed a profound deficit in connections between brain areas responsible for learning and memory. And a large prospective study (following individuals across time) showed that people who began smoking marijuana heavily in their teens lost as much as 8 points in IQ between age 13 and age 38; importantly, the lost cognitive abilities were not restored in those who quit smoking marijuana as adults. (Individuals who started smoking marijuana in adulthood did not show significant IQ declines.)
What Are the Other Health Effects of Marijuana? Marijuana use can have a variety of adverse, short- and long-term effects, especially on cardiopulmonary and mental health. Marijuana raises heart rate by 20-100 percent shortly after smoking; this effect can last up to 3 hours. In one study, it was estimated that marijuana users have a 4.8-fold increase in the risk of heart attack in the first hour after smoking the drug. This may be due to increased heart rate as well as the effects of marijuana on heart rhythms, causing palpitations and arrhythmias. This risk may be greater in older individuals or in those with cardiac vulnerabilities.
Marijuana and Driving Because it seriously impairs judgment and motor coordination, marijuana also contributes to accidents while driving. A recent analysis of data from several studies found that marijuana use more than doubles a driver’s risk of being in an accident. Further, the combination of marijuana and alcohol is worse than either substance alone with respect to driving impairment. Marijuana smoke is an irritant to the lungs, and frequent marijuana smokers can have many of the same respiratory problems experienced by tobacco smokers, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infections. One study found that people who smoke marijuana frequently but do not smoke tobacco have more health problems and miss more days of work than nonsmokers, mainly because of respiratory illnesses. A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and mental illness. High doses of marijuana can produce a temporary psychotic reaction (involving hallucinations and paranoia) in some users, and using marijuana can worsen the course of illness in patients with schizophrenia. A series of large prospective studies also showed a link between marijuana use and later development of psychosis. This relationship was influenced by genetic variables as well as the amount of drug used and the age at which it was first taken—those who start young are at increased risk for later problems. Associations have also been found between marijuana use and other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts among adolescents, and personality disturbances, including a lack of motivation to engage in typically rewarding activities. More research is still needed to confirm and better understand these linkages. Marijuana use during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of neurobehavioral problems in babies. Because THC and other compounds in marijuana mimic the body’s own cannabinoid-like chemicals, marijuana use by pregnant mothers may alter the developing endocannabinoid system in the brain of the fetus. Consequences for the child may include problems with attention, memory, and problem solving. Finally, marijuana use has been linked in a few recent studies to an increased risk of an aggressive type of testicular cancer in young men, although further research is needed to establish whether there is a direct causal connection.
Is Marijuana Medicine? Although many have called for the legalization of marijuana to treat conditions including pain and nausea caused by HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other conditions, the scientific evidence to date is not sufficient for the marijuana plant to gain FDA approval, for two main reasons. First, there have not been enough clinical trials showing that marijuana’s benefits outweigh its health risks in patients with the symptoms it is meant to treat. The FDA requires carefully conducted studies in large numbers of patients (hundreds to thousands) to accurately assess the benefits and risks of a potential medication. Also, to be considered a legitimate medicine, a substance must have well-defined and measureable ingredients that are consistent from one unit (such as a pill or injection) to the next. This consistency allows doctors to determine the dose and frequency. As the marijuana plant contains hundreds of chemical compounds that may have different effects and that vary from plant to plant, its use as a medicine is difficult to evaluate. However, THC-based drugs to treat pain and nausea are already FDA approved and prescribed, and scientists continue to investigate the medicinal properties of cannabinoids.
Is Marijuana Addictive? Contrary to common belief, marijuana is addictive. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17 percent, or 1 in 6) and among daily users (to 25-50 percent). Thus, many of the nearly 7 percent of high-school seniors who (according to annual survey data) report smoking marijuana daily or almost daily are well on their way to addiction, if not already addicted (besides functioning at a sub-optimal level all of the time). Long-term marijuana users trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms including irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which can make it difficult to remain abstinent. Behavioral interventions, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational incentives (i.e., providing vouchers for goods or services to patients who remain abstinent) have proven to be effective in treating marijuana addiction. Although no medications are currently available, recent discoveries about the workings of the endocannabinoid system offer promise for the development of medications to ease withdrawal, block the intoxicating effects of marijuana, and prevent relapse.
Rising Potency The amount of THC in marijuana samples confiscated by police has been increasing steadily over the past few decades. In 2012, THC concentrations in marijuana averaged nearly 15 percent, compared to around 4 percent in the 1980s. For a new user, this may mean exposure to higher concentrations of THC, with a greater chance of an adverse or unpredictable reaction. Increases in potency may account for the rise in emergency department visits involving marijuana use. For experienced users, it may mean a greater risk for addiction if they are exposing them-selves to high doses on a regular basis. However, the full range of consequences associated with marijuana's higher potency is not well understood, nor is it known whether experienced marijuana users adjust for the increase in potency by using less. Information on Marijuana was obtained from the National Institute on Drug Abuse
Cocaine Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. It produces short-term euphoria, energy, and talkativeness in addition to potentially dangerous physical effects like raising heart rate and blood pressure.
How Is Cocaine Used? The powdered form of cocaine is either inhaled through the nose (snorted), where it is absorbed through the nasal tissue, or dissolved in water and injected into the bloodstream. Crack is a form of cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal (also called “freebase cocaine”) that can be smoked. The crystal is heated to produce vapors that are absorbed into the blood-stream through the lungs. (The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound produced by the rock as it is heated.) The intensity and duration of cocaine’s pleasurable effects depend on the way it is administered. Injecting or smoking cocaine delivers the drug rapidly into the bloodstream and brain, producing a quicker and stronger but shorter-lasting high than snorting. The high from snorting cocaine may last 15 to 30 minutes; the high from smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes. In order to sustain their high, people who use cocaine often use the drug in a binge pattern—taking the drug repeatedly within a relatively short period of time, at increasingly higher doses. This practice can easily lead to addiction, a chronic relapsing disease caused by changes in the brain and characterized by uncontrollable drug-seeking no matter the consequences.
How Does Cocaine Affect the Brain? Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant that increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain circuits regulating pleasure and movement. Normally, dopamine is released by neurons in these circuits in response to potential rewards (like the smell of good food) and then recycled back into the cell that released it, thus shutting off the signal between neurons. Cocaine prevents the dopamine from being recycled, causing excessive amounts to build up in the synapse, or junction between neurons. This amplifies the dopamine signal and ultimately disrupts normal brain communication. It is this flood of dopamine that causes cocaine’s characteristic high. With repeated use, cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward system as well as other brain systems, which may lead to addiction. With repeated use, tolerance to cocaine also often develops; many cocaine abusers report that they seek but fail to achieve as much pleasure as they did from their first exposure. Some users will increase their dose in an attempt to intensify and prolong their high, but this can also increase the risk of adverse psychological or physiological effects.
What Are the Other Health Effects of Cocaine? Cocaine affects the body in a variety of ways. It constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils, and increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. Because cocaine tends to decrease appetite, chronic users can become malnourished as well. Most seriously, people who use cocaine can suffer heart attacks or strokes, which may cause sudden death. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of the heart stopping (cardiac arrest) followed by an arrest of breathing. People who use cocaine also put themselves at risk for contracting HIV, even if they do not share needles or other drug paraphernalia. This is because cocaine intoxication impairs judgment and can lead to risky sexual behavior. Some effects of cocaine depend on the method of taking it. Regular snorting of cocaine, for example, can lead to loss of the sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing, hoarseness, and a chronically runny nose. Ingesting cocaine by the mouth can cause severe bowel gangrene as a result of reduced blood flow. Injecting cocaine can bring about severe allergic reactions and increased risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis C, and other blood-borne diseases. Binge-patterned cocaine use may lead to irritability, restlessness, and anxiety. Cocaine abusers can also experience severe paranoia—a temporary state of full-blown paranoid psychosis—in which they lose touch with reality and experience auditory hallucinations. Cocaine is more dangerous when combined with other drugs or alcohol (poly-drug use). For example, the combination of cocaine and heroin (known as a “speedball”), carries a particularly high risk of fatal overdose. Information on cocaine was obtained from the National Institute on Drug Abuse
Prescription drugs What is Prescription Drug Abuse: Some medications have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties and, because of that, are sometimes abused—that is, taken for reasons or in ways or amounts not intended by a doctor, or taken by someone other than the person for whom they are prescribed. In fact, prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are, after marijuana (and alcohol), the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older.
Commonly Abused Drugs Commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include opioids (for pain), central nervous system (CNS) depressants (for anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (for ADHD and narcolepsy). Opioids include:
- Fentanyl (Duragesic®)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin®)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin®)
- Oxymorphone (Opana®)
- Propoxyphene (Darvon®)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid®)
- Meperidine (Demerol®)
- Diphenoxylate (Lomotil®)
Central nervous system depressants include:
- Pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal®)
- Diazepam (Valium®)
- Alprazolam (Xanax®)
- Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®)
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin® and Concerta®)
- Amphetamines (Adderall®)
The most commonly abused OTC drugs are cough and cold remedies containing dextromethorphan. People often think that prescription and OTC drugs are safer than illicit drugs, but that’s only true when they are taken exactly as prescribed and for the purpose intended. When abused, prescription and OTC drugs can be addictive and put abusers at risk for other adverse health effects, including overdose—especially when taken along with other drugs or alcohol.
How Are Prescription Drugs Abused? Prescription and OTC drugs may be abused in one or more of the following ways: Taking a medication that has been prescribed for somebody else. Unaware of the dangers of sharing medications, people often unknowingly contribute to this form of abuse by sharing their unused pain relievers with their family members. Most teenagers who abuse prescription drugs are given them for free by a friend or relative.' Taking a drug in a higher quantity or in another manner than prescribed.' Most prescription drugs are dispensed orally in tablets, but abusers sometimes crush the tablets and snort or inject the powder. This hastens the entry of the drug into the bloodstream and the brain and amplifies its effects.' Taking a drug for another purpose than prescribed. All of the drug types mentioned can produce pleasurable effects at sufficient quantities, so taking them for the purpose of getting high is one of the main reasons people abuse them. ADHD drugs like Adderall are also often abused by students seeking to improve their academic performance. However, although they may boost alertness, there is little evidence they improve cognitive functioning for those without a medical condition.
How Do Prescription and OTC Drugs Affect the Brain? Taken as intended, prescription and OTC drugs safely treat specific mental or physical symptoms. But when taken in different quantities or when such symptoms aren’t present, they may affect the brain in ways very similar to illicit drugs. For example, stimulants such as Ritalin achieve their effects by acting on the same neurotransmitter systems as cocaine. Opioid pain relievers such as OxyContin attach to the same cell receptors targeted by illegal opioids like heroin. Prescription depressants produce sedating or calming effects in the same manner as the club drugs GHB and rohypnol. And when taken in very high doses, dextromethorphan acts on the same cell receptors as PCP or ketamine, producing similar out-of-body experiences. When abused, all of these classes of drugs directly or indirectly cause a pleasurable increase in the amount of dopamine in the brain’s reward pathway. Repeatedly seeking to experience that feeling can lead to addiction.
What Are the Other Health Effects of Prescription and OTC Drugs? Stimulants can have strong effects on the cardiovascular system. Taking high doses of a stimulant can dangerously raise body temperature and cause irregular heartbeat or even heart failure or seizures. Also, taking some stimulants in high doses or repeatedly can lead to hostility or feelings of paranoia. Opioids can produce drowsiness, cause constipation, and—depending upon the amount taken—depress breathing. The latter effect makes opioids particularly dangerous, especially when they are snorted or injected or combined with other drugs or alcohol. More people die from overdoses of prescription opioids than from all other drugs combined, including heroin and cocaine. CNS depressants slow down brain activity and can cause sleepiness and loss of coordination. Continued use can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms if discontinuing use. Dextromethorphan can cause impaired motor function, numbness, nausea or vomiting, and increased heart rate and blood pressure. On rare occasions, hypoxic brain damage—caused by severe respiratory depression and a lack of oxygen to the brain—has occurred due to the combination of dextromethorphan with decongestants often found in the medication. All of these drugs have the potential for addiction, and this risk is amplified when they are abused. Also, as with other drugs, abuse of prescription and OTC drugs can alter a person’s judgment and decision making, leading to dangerous behaviors such as unsafe sex and drugged driving.
Prescription Opioid Abuse: A First Step to Heroin Use? Prescription opioid pain medications such as Oxycontin and Vicodin can have effects similar to heroin when taken in doses or in ways other than prescribed, and research now suggests that abuse of these drugs may actually open the door to heroin abuse. Nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in three recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin. Some individuals reported taking up heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids. Many of these young people also report that crushing prescription opioid pills to snort or inject the powder provided their initiation into these methods of drug administration.
Information on prescription drugs was obtained from the National Institute on Drug Abuse
For additional information on these and other illicit drugs visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse.