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Drug quantity is up, prices down

WORTHINGTON -- If the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force's casework is any indication, the amount of drug quantity readily available has increased within a year's time.

WORTHINGTON - If the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force’s casework is any indication, the amount of drug quantity readily available has increased within a year’s time.

According to BRDTF Commander Nate Grimmius, this reality is reflective in the increase of drugs seized through the force’s three-county region in 2017 compared to 2016.

In 2017, the force seized 359.23 pounds of marijuana, 216 dosage units of illegally obtained prescription medications and 23.69 pounds of methamphetamine, 2.8 grams of heroin, 141 grams of mushrooms, 44 grams of marijuana concentrate and 32 dosage units of LSD. That compares to 2016 seizures of 99.7 grams of marijuana, 5.77 pounds of methamphetamine and 530 dosage units of illegally obtained prescription medications.

Grimmius said while numbers vary from year to year, one statistic remains consistent.

“Significantly, methamphetamine is through the roof for us - as well as high-grade marijuana,” he said.

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High-grade marijuana and marijuana concentrate are being sourced back to west coast and southern states that have already legalized it, Grimmius said, adding that heroin is also getting a lot of media attention as it has caused many overdose deaths in the metro and northern Minnesota regions.

While the force is aware that heroin exists in the area and is a problem, Grimmius said it’s not the drug of choice in southwest Minnesota.

“Meth has such a stronghold in our area,” he said. “By seizure numbers, meth is our problem.”

He said there have been heroin overdoses in the force’s region of Nobles, Murray and Pipestone counties, but no deaths that he’s aware of. However, there were a handful of meth-related deaths within the last year, he added.

A major contributing factor to a drug issue, Grimmius added, is that the drug market works as any other supply-and-demand principle.

At present, the quantity of available product is up, so prices are more affordable, Grimmius said.

“Over the last couple of years, we’ve noticed in our area, people that used to be a gram dealer have moved up to what we can an eight-ball dealer or ounce dealer,” Grimmius explained. “It seems like everybody has jumped up the ladder a step because of the supply that’s out there.”

The supply-and-demand effect is not completely negative, Grimmius acknowledged. The drug task force can also affect the availability and price of illegal products.

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“If we get a group of individuals trafficking large quantities, that’s going to drive the price up for a while until someone is willing to take that risk,” he said.

Grimmius said the force is both reactive and proactive in its mission to remove drugs from users’ hands. Its effort is heightened by the endless partners it has in the public, who Grimmius said have been extremely valuable in helping the force complete cases. Through the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force’s mobile application, tipsters can send texts, image or video messages 100 percent anonymously, Grimmius said.

The free application may be downloaded from the application store on Apple or Android devices.

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