Editorial: Law enforcement partnership makes senseBy working together, law enforcement officials from Dakota, Washington and Ramsey counties can make a bigger difference.
A problem like drug abuse doesn’t recognize borders. It happens everywhere, and its effects spill over from one community to another.
That is true when you are talking about drugs like marijuana, cocaine or heroin and it’s particularly true of prescription drugs, the abuse of which law enforcement officials say is increasingly becoming a problem.
That’s why it makes sense for the public safety departments in Dakota County to team up with their counterparts in Washington and Ramsey counties. All three counties have similar problems, and together they will be better able to make a difference.
Some parts of the partnership, announced in a press conference last week, are already taking shape. The groups will focus first on prescription-drug abuse. Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said last week that his department has seen a 17-percent increase in the number of adults charged with offenses related to the abuse of prescription drugs, and he called that number “the tip of the iceberg.” Many offenses go unreported.
Some efforts are already in place. Dakota County has conducted several successful programs to collect unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Working together, the counties want to expand those efforts and bolster them by reaching out to public health workers and others in the community.
“We need to stop these epidemics before they get started,” Backstrom said last week.
We see the benefits that come from these groups working together. There is strength in numbers, and beyond the increased enforcement efforts it seems likely the mere fact this issue is being discussed will raise awareness. It will help parents realize they are in some cases supplying the drugs their children are abusing with the unfinished prescriptions they have in their homes..
We look forward to good things from this arrangement.