- Category: Crime
- Created on Sunday, 28 October 2012 19:31
Oceanside, California - More than 200 law enforcement officers, including San Diego County sheriff’s deputies, probation officers, and substance abuse treatment experts converged on the Vista and Oceanside area Wednesday to knock on doors of recently released drug offenders now being supervised by the County Probation Department.
The mission of the Tip the Scale drug enforcement operation is to check on those offenders and redirect ones who are struggling with alcohol and drug abuse toward rehabilitative programs and increase neighborhood safety at the same time. Officers also swept known hotspots for drug use and crime in those two cities.
The drug-treatment outreach resulted in 50 arrests, 21 of them drug-related, and 28 treatment referrals.
Across the county last year, law enforcement made more than 5,000 meth-related arrests, said Lt. Mark Ryan of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. Also last year, 171 people died of meth-related causes, he said.
“Meth use remains a significant public health and safety issue for our communities,” said Ryan, who is assigned to the Vista station. “That’s why the drug outreach efforts of this operation are so critical.”
Some of the probationers were not ready to seek treatment now, but officers distributed 36 packets of information about the dangers of drug use and how to seek treatment.
Francisco Medrano, an Alcohol and Drug Program specialist with the Probation Department, is one of the counselors trying to help those arrested for drug violations.
“It’s a crucial moment. We catch them at a very low moment in their lives, some might even lose their kids over this,” said Medrano. “Sometimes it takes these moments. Sometimes people say I really needed this to happen. So, I believe this is beneficial.”
Counselors talk to those arrested to find out if they have tried to go into treatment. If they have started treatment but did not continue, the counselors try to help the person determine why they were not successful and try to find a different program or a solution.
The counselors tell them treatment is the solution to help them turn their lives around, so they don’t have to keep going through drug checks and court ordered searches.
“Our goal is to really provide treatment to people,” said Jason Druxman, a County Probation supervising probation officer. “Every dollar spent on treatment saves $7 in criminal justice costs for the taxpayers.”
Druxman said this year they included two teams focused on juveniles because they want to help them seek treatment before the problem escalates and lands them in the adult criminal system.
The operation also helps reduce drug use and drug-related criminal activity such as thefts and assaults in the communities, said Druxman.
In the past three years, Tip the Scale has led to more than 17,000 law enforcement contacts, 425 arrests, 208 treatment conversations, and 636 information packets distributed. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and partner agencies including the Meth Strike Force launched the operation in 2009 and have done 12 sweeps.
To report a meth-related crime or seek information about treatment options, call 1-877-NO-2-METH (1-877-662-6384) or go online at www.no2meth.org.