Q: I notice in the paper that there seems to be a lot of drug activity in our community. What is the Red Wing Police Department doing about this problem?
A: Illicit drug usage is prevalent in many communities across the United States, In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans age 12 or older — 9.4% of the population — had used an illicit drug in the past month. This number is up from 8.3% in 2002.
Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to.
Fortunately, researchers know more than ever about how drugs affect the brain and have found treatments that can help people recover from drug addiction and lead productive lives.
The Red Wing Police Department has taken a three prong approach to illegal drug usage and drug trafficking, which consists of education, enforcement and accountability (drug court).
Education involves getting the proper information to our community so individuals can make the proper choices to achieve their goals. Addiction may be influenced by
- biology (the genes that individuals are born with will make up half of the person’s risk for addiction);
- environment (per pressure and exposure to abuse); and
- development (genetics and environment factors interact with critical development factors in a person’s life).
The Red Wing Police Department teaches GREAT — Gang Resistance Education and Training — at the fifth and seventh grade levels to equip young people with the ability to establish goals and problem solving skills to make the proper choices to achieve those goals. We continue to look for opportunities to build our collaboration and partnerships within our community to be proactive in educational opportunities to prevent substance abuse.
Red Wing Police Department enforcement efforts revolve around our patrol activities and participation in the Southeast Minnesota Violent Crimes Enforcement Team. Patrol activity is primarily focused on accountability and interdiction to curb the flow of drugs coming into and flowing through our community. In 2016, there were 469 arrests, 2017 there were 532 and in 2018, we saw 535 arrests.
Lastly, the Red Wing Police Department is proud to be an active member of the Goodhue County Treatment Court. Treatment Court started in Goodhue County in June 2019, and provides close accountability and follow-up that encourages life-style changes (environmental) that allows individual participants to set goals and make positive changes in their lives. Treatment Court is a collaborative effort of the Goodhue County Attorney’s office, private treatment providers, courts, probation (Department of Corrections), RWPD, Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office and community members.
What can you do to help fight drug usage in our community is to take time to listen to someone experiencing a life crisis, encouraging positive alternatives. If you notice a lot of short-term traffic frequently a residence in your area and suspect drug trafficking, contact Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-800-222-8477 to make an anonymous tip or the call the non-emergency law enforcement number at 651-385-3155 to make a report.
Red Wing is an awesome community and together we can ensure it stays that way and maintain the quality of life our community is known for!
1. National Institute on Drug Abuse, located online at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction
2. Adult and Teen Challenge: https://www.mntc.org/
3. Substance Abuse Hot Line: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
4. Drug Addiction: https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/is-drug-addiction-a-disease
5. Minnesota Opioid Dashboard, located online at: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/opioids/opioid-dashboard/index.html