MORGAN COUNTY, Ind. - Law enforcement in Morgan County said it's going back to basics in fighting the drug epidemic. It's launching a new team this summer to zero in on traffic stops in hopes of catching drug traffickers.
"The drug problem seems like it gets worse and worse every year," Deputy Cody St. John said.
He knows there are drugs on the roads, but said most of what law enforcement catches in Morgan County are only small amounts, something he wants to change.
"With the size of the department and the funding we just run into man power and funding issues," St. John said.
Now more funds are on the way. The Morgan County Substance Abuse Council is giving a $25,000 grant to form a proactive criminal enforcement team between the Morgan County Sheriff's Office and the Mooresville Police Department.
"It comes from actually funds that are generated by the offenders," Joe Mills, the executive director of the Morgan County Substance Abuse Council, said.
The unit's task is to focus on major roadways running through the county and any suppliers traveling on them.
"The officers will be afforded overtime opportunities to participate on the team and interdict the drugs that are coming through into our county," Captain Brent Worth with the Morgan County Sheriff's Office said.
They want to stop the drugs to help save lives. Worth said last year there were 20 overdose deaths in Morgan County and that they've seen four so far this year.
A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility also shows drug use by drivers continues to rise.
"I mean there's too many lives that are being destroyed because of alcohol and other drugs," Mills said.
When Deputy St. John gets into his patrol car this summer, he'll be a part of that new team trying to destroy any drugs on Morgan County roads.
The sheriff's office said it hopes it serves as a pilot program for future projects.