AMHERST CO. Va. – In a nation where opioid abuse has been declared an epidemic, Amherst County is seeing a rise in another drug: methamphetamine.
“Because of the laws and guidelines they put against doctors and stuff, I think it's hard to get to the opiates, the medicine, and it's a whole lot easier to get the meth,” Sheriff E.W. Viar said.
In 2014 Amherst County's drug activity trend showed five cases related to meth. Fast forward to 2017-- now they have 83. The increase is keeping authorities busy. With the help of outside agencies, this year, they were able to seize 5 pounds of meth that was going to be sold in the Lynchburg area.
"Because the deputies here are so proactive with their traffic stops or whatever. They might find someone that has marijuana and that stop might turn information related to the vice unit, the vice unit is informant-based. And based on that the chain level goes higher and higher,” Viar said.
The sheriff says with the increase of drug abuse also triggers other crimes.
"They steal it and take it back to some of the drug dealers and trade it for the drugs. Or if they don't do that... they take the product they steal and take it to pawn shops and they get money for it to go buy the drugs. So either way we're losing out and the citizens are the ones really suffering in the larcenies,” Viar said.
The sheriff says his office has been making it harder to buy drugs in the county, but the battle still continues. "But I'd like to get where the vice guys come to me and tell me, 'Sheriff, we can't buy any drugs in Amherst County.' I'd love to see it that way,” Viar said.