AVON, Ind. – Authorities in Hendricks County are working to get a handle on the opioid crisis by adding resources for police and giving jail inmates access to addiction treatment.
As Avon police respond to crimes at retail plazas, or even residential areas, they are noticing a common motivator for many of the people they arrest – a search for money to feed a drug habit.
"As desperation rises to that level, they’re forced to take some more serious action to try to acquire money through theft, robberies, things of that nature," said Sean Stoops, Avon Police Chief.
Just in the last year, Stoops said his officers started directly treating people for overdoses.
"We have noticed since we introduced the Narcan program, over the last year, I think we’ve administered it about ten times," Stoops said.
The crime data tells part of the story for Hendricks County. Stoops said they had approximately 788 drug-related calls for service in 2015 in the county. By 2016, the number was up to 1148. Stoops said some drug activity is moving into Avon from Indianapolis as certain criminals think they're less likely to get caught there. So, the Avon Police Department is taking action and adding K9 officers.
"We're going to go from one to three and hopefully we can have an impact on the opioid and heroin and other drug problems at the street level," Stoops said.
One of the new K9s was donated from another agency. A grant is allowing the department to purchase a third drug detecting dog.
"It really is a joint effort on everyone’s part to address this problem together because we can’t do it by ourselves," Stoops said.
The drug fighting strategy is also clear at the Hendricks County Jail where a recovery area is now available.
“If we can plant the seed for them and get them on the right path again hopefully they can get back and be productive members of our county and not commit crimes to end up back in here with us," said Hendricks County Sheriff Brett Clark.