By Holly Demaree
On August 28, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office held a drug forum at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds to address the rising incidents of drug use and arrests of Hamilton County residents. The goal of the forum, according to law enforcement, was to educate, not lecture.
Jeanine Motsay, a resident of Hamilton County, began the forum by speaking about her son. Sam Motsay died on May 11, 2014 due to the use of the drug NBome. Jeanine Motsay told those gathered that she would like to help people, especially parents, understand the dangers of NBome, and how easy it is for young adults and teens to obtain it and not realize the dangers.
Jeanine Motsay and her family have created SAMs Watch, a nonprofit organization dedicated to help educate others on the dangers of drugs. The organization created a website – samswatch.org – where people can learn about NBome and other synthetic drugs.
Another speaker, S.A. Louis Arona from the Drug Enforcement Agency spoke specifically about NBome, what it looks like and its potency. NBome is about the size of a quarter and is put on a piece of paper with intriguing designs on them.
“I’ve been told NBome is like LSD except it is 60 times stronger; the effects are instant and can last up to 12 hours,” Arona said.
Currently there is no antidote to NBome and is most commonly seen being used by people between the ages of 15 and 29.
Major A. Dietz from the Hamilton-Boone County Drug Task Force focused on how these issues are directly affecting Hamilton County. The addicts that the task force comes into to contact with are addicted to heroin, he told the forum attendees.
“One tenth of a sweet and low is all one needs to get high off of heroin,” said Dietz.
It would cost about twenty dollars for that amount of heroin and some pay that three to four times a day. Dietz explains that this then causes some to steal to help pay for this habit. “One person admitted to committing 30 crimes. That is 30 victims for opiate drugs,” said Dietz.
Senator Jim Merritt also addressed the forum and spoke about how these drugs are affecting the Hamilton County community. He explained the importance of the Lifeline Law, which he was instrumental in getting signed into law.
The Lifeline law allows an under-age person to call for help for another under-age person who is under the influence of alcohol. As long as everyone cooperates with law enforcement no one will be taken into custody and they will be given the help they need.
“I am not willing to say goodbye to a generation,” said Merritt. “I understand kids make mistakes but it should not end their life. So, let’s use our fear for something positive and talk to our kids.”
Senator Merritt urged everyone in attendance to talk to others about the importance of not abusing drugs and working together to better the community.