Police force combats drugs

Captain Randy Lewis of the Rexburg Police Department displays drugs confiscated in Rexburg. Lewis said he anticipates drug problems to rise in Rexburg, due to the city’s growing population. SCROLL DIGITAL | Screen Shot

Two 17 year olds were arrested Nov. 17 for possession of alcohol and being under the influence. This is just one case of the drugs that affect the Rexburg area. Rexburg’s police are focused on combating the drugs wherever they show up.

Due to the growth of Rexburg and the growth of BYU-I, police officials such as Capt. Randy Lewis of the Rexburg Police Department expect more drug problems to arise.

“With more university kids coming in, and more people moving to Rexburg, the problem will likely grow, just as it tends to grow in every town or city that is growing,” Lewis said.

More than a fourth of Rexburg’s total population are students from BYU-Idaho, according to the 2010 national census. Despite the honor code that BYU-I students are required to adhere to, Rexburg has a drug problem with youths and young adults.

The Rexburg Police Department intends to combat the likely rise of drug use by focusing on educating minors in the public schools on the consequences of drug use though the D.A.R.E. program and by working with university officials to make sure students stay off drugs.

“Our main focus is on the education part of the drug battle; if kids know what drugs will do to them, hopefully they’ll know to make the right choice and stay off drugs,” Lewis said.

The police force, however, has other ways of combating drugs in Rexburg. According to the Rexburg City Police web page, the department has two K-9 units that have been trained to work together and sniff out drugs.

Each K-9 unit consists of a police officer who has been through training with a police dog trained to recognize the smells and odors of drugs. The training allows the dog to smell the narcotics and lead the officer to them.

K-9 units are used whenever a drug problem is called in, whenever there are drugs suspected or even if just a strange odor is being smelled.  More information concerning K-9 units can be found at the Rexburg Police Department website.

“Our biggest problems are because of alcohol, but pot and prescription drugs are right behind it,” Lewis said.

The most frequent drug abuse is the illegal use of alcohol, commonly resulting in driving under the influence and illegal use by minors.

Marijuana is the next most abused drug, and is illegal for any use or possession in the state of Idaho, even with medical marijuana cards issued in other states. Overdosage or improper use of prescription drugs, such as oxytocin and other over-the-counter painkillers, is ranked as the third highest instance of drug abuse.

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