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Sheriff: Drugs Biggest Problem In Harford County

If the county curbs its drug problem, it may also decrease its inmate population, Sheriff L. Jesse Bane said.

Drug use and addiction are among the biggest problems facing county law enforcement, Sheriff said during the recent town hall meeting organized by the .

"I'm telling you that the most serious problem in Harford County today is drugs; it drives the crime and it's destroying our children," Bane said.

He went on to say that prescription drug abuse is a major part of that problem and impacts people from all walks of life.

An undercover drug investigation involving prescription medications , and law enforcement, "ended up charging some people who you would never believe would be charged with a drug violation," Bane said.

Narcotics are easy to access, he said, especially when those prescribed the medications do not monitor or lock away the drugs.

"If you believe there are no drugs in your schools, you’re kidding yourself," Bane said, adding, "look in your medicine cabinet—that’s where they’re getting them from."

Bane said illegal drugs are also a contributing factor to the inmate population at the .

"If we got a handle on the drug problem, half the people up here [in the center] wouldn’t need to be here," Bane said.

On any given day, between 50 and 60 percent of the detention center population is in custody because they are addicted to drugs, he said. Many may also have mental health issues.

"The jail is no longer a jail," Bane said, later adding, "We are a hospital, a detention facility and a psyche ward."

The sheriff's office, a number of county offices and interested parties are currently at the detention center. Addressing addiction issues is one part of that plan.

Ashley February 23, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Really? They're just now figuring this out? I could have thrown a rock in a random direction in high school and it would have hit someone with a pill problem. Parents need to stop being so naive. It's not just kids in schools though, I can't tell you how many junkies I saw on a daily basis when I worked at the pharmacy. And I'm not talking about in Edgewood or Aberdeen, I'm talking about in Fallston. The truth of the matter is that drugs have been a long running problem in Harford County because the county doesn't lay harsh enough punishments on people. They need to stop slapping people on the wrist and lay down a heavier sentences. I can understand probation for a first time offense, but after that we need to skip the BS and hand down a punishment that is going to do something.
kzk February 23, 2012 at 05:26 PM
I could not agree more. Living in Bel Air and the drugs are all around us! No longer is it transient 95 corridor, it is in the more "settled" neighborhoods. Several in our development alone have received probation and are back the next day doing the same thing, laughing at the police.
Hank Hill February 23, 2012 at 05:31 PM
After automobile accidents causing death on Feb 7th, 18th, and another causing three deaths on the 20th, theft charges on the 17th, 18th, and 19th, and vandalism and tresspassing charges, Jesse Bane is trying to tell us that our biggest problem is drugs? What about wreckless driving or burglers? What about violent crime? So far, every arrest I've read about (except one) sounds like harassment; traffic stop turned into marijuana bust as the cop proceeds to break 'search and seizure' laws by ransacking the car without consent (or with confused consent) of the poor driver. I (without worry) get searched every time I get pulled over. I wouldn't mind except for the fact that I'm treated very poorly by the officer EVERY TIME. Our police dept wants more money to arrest children for grams of pot when they should be trying to clean up heroine or cocaine- or at least go after bigger fish.
Ashley February 23, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Hank - This article isn't about arresting kids for marijuana, it's about the rampant prescription drug problem that plagues Harford County. You might not think that it's not a big issue, but it is. Have you ever considered that perhaps these other problems stem from the drug issue. People who are addicted to pills go to extreme lengths to get those pills. Stealing, violence, etc. I've seen a lot of this first hand from working in a pharmacy. As for you being treated poorly by officers I can only assume it's because you approach them with the same type of attitude that you've presented in your comment. As for ransacking a car without consent, all they need is probable cause to search your car.
Ed Jr. February 23, 2012 at 05:58 PM
If Jesse Bane hadn't been wasting our taxpayer resources protecting his friend and number 3 in charge Mark Forwood, he would have had more resources to fight this battle. Bane - please tell us something new. We are tired on hearing if I only had more resources. You have plenty resources. During your first 4 years in office your budget increased 40% - $19 Million Dollars. Stop whinning and get it done or get out of the way!
Reen February 23, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Doesn't matter how much Jesse "gets it done". If the court system continues to fail we are never going to get ahead.
lakm February 23, 2012 at 06:10 PM
If you look at the arrest reports it is usually "kids" (16-25) getting busted for pot. the drug problem needs to be addressed but these "kids" are not the problem. pot is just easier to go after then the really drug problems (heroine and pills). they should stop spending all of their money going after a bunch of potheads who really most likely would grow up and stop anyways and put the money toward stopping the influx of hard drugs. (and please no stepping stone comments because that is BS)
Justin Hurley February 23, 2012 at 06:15 PM
@Ashley, You are wrong about them only needing probable cause. If an officer suspects that there may be drugs in the car, unless they are in plain view, he must first ask for permission to search the vehicle. If you refuse permission, then they have the option to bring out a K-9 Unit and have a dog sniff the car. If the dog reacts in the appropriate manner, then a search may be conviened. The problem with that is research shows that dogs are more likely to react to the feelings of the officer, then to any actual drugs. On another note, I don't see why we still place so much emphasis on arresting drug law violators. Harsher drug penalties have never shown to decrease use. If you want to reduce drug related crime, i say it is time we take a page out of portugals drug policy: Decriminalize Everything! Focus on treatment of addiction, and take the money being spent on drugs out of the pockets of criminals, and put it in the hands of law-abiding American Citizens. When we remove drugs from the black market, we remove virtually all profits gained on the black market. When the state lets us practice our second amendment rights to the fullest extent, we will almost eliminate the black market in Maryland, aside from the occasional kidney and stolen art sale. Ask any teenager what is easier for them to get, drugs on the street or alcohol that is regulated too store shelves with people at the check-out counter that check ID's, and the majority of your answers will be drugs.
Peter Nincompoop February 23, 2012 at 06:30 PM
dogs are just an excuse to circumvent the fourth amendment, we have been lead to believe that this is legal and brainwashed to believe this, police anything a dog does can be justified as a reason to search a car. A warrant is the only acceptable probable cause.
Peter Nincompoop February 23, 2012 at 06:30 PM
you are absolutely right, there are bigger problems than drugs in this county, and the drug problem is a medical problem, Sheriff Bane said it himself, "We are a hospital, a detention facility and a psyche ward." I know this is an unpopular idea and I am ready to defend my position but I believe drugs should be legalized and controlled by the government. It works for alcohol and now it is easier for young people to get drugs than alcohol because drug dealers do not ask for identification. The most important part of this is for the parents not the government to educate their children on drugs.
lakm February 23, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I agree but unfortunately no politician will change it. it would be admitting that they have been wrong all these years.
Peter Nincompoop February 23, 2012 at 07:31 PM
It would be nice if politicians not only listened to us the people, but to reason and common sense, and started doing what was best for the people and not what was best for themselves.
Ashley February 23, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.
Colin February 24, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Well it seems like most of us are on the same page with the drug issue. Legalize them and no more problem or at least just legalize marijuana so the police can focus more on the harder drugs that actually kill people... So why dont you guys vote for the right choice this election and get rid of all these two face liars we call politicians. Vote Ron Paul 2012
Paul February 24, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Finally i've heard one county official admit what many of us parents have known for years-Harford County has a major drug problem! Thank you Jesse Bane
jj February 24, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Andy Eisner February 25, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Ron Paul? PLEASE vote for someone who actually has a chance to win.
whitefordman February 25, 2012 at 05:50 PM
This is strait from a police officer. We do not bust the people in one mass bust because if we did, we lose state funding. Hummmm But really it all strats at home. Parents need to start being involved in their children and start knowing were they are and who they are with. Its easier to say ok hun be careful and see you later, then to ask the 5 w's. We adults are failing our children. All we do is to run our kids to Dr.s to get them scrips to help them deal and cope with all their problems. I am 42 and I have made it just fine! If you parents would clean out your medicine cabinets your children stand a better chance.
johnnybright November 09, 2012 at 10:35 PM
can i leave a comment?


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