People Magazine Spotlights Meth Problems in Jackson County

February 8, 2004 -- Posted at 7:48 p.m. CST

NEWPORT--People magazine comes to Jackson County... in search of a plague sweeping the area...methamphetamine is that plague, says Jackson County Sheriff Jim Bishop....and the magazine article that hits news stands this week, focuses on how Bishop and others in the area are dealing with their meth madness.

"When you first start doing meth it just makes you feel real good and you're on top of the world. And that's where you get does make you feel good, it kinda makes you forget about your problems and things because you feel so good about yourself about that point in time...but that don't last," said Perry Johnson.

Johnson should know... he's a former cop, a patrolman, now on the wrong side of the law... serving his time. But if you missed what he said, you can read about it. Next week's issue of People magazine features an article about the methamphetamine problem in Arkansas... and one of the worst area's... Jackson County.

Sheriff Jim Bishop is featured in the article and says the experience was a good one.
"They were here for almost two weeks. They interviewed factories, manufacturing companies, the work people, they also went to the department of correction and interviewed some folks there," said Sheriff Bishop.

While People magazine may be bringing the problem of drugs in Jackson County to the forefront, it's something that officials have been dealing with for years.

The evidence room at the Jackson County Sheriff's Office is filled with drug paraphernalia, and nearly half of all the items inside were confiscated during drug raids.

"They've been much more aggressive than some of the other counties in going after the meth cookers and so there's probably the perception by other areas of the state that maybe it's worse here because you see more arrests and more labs but that's because they've been more aggressive," said State Senator Jack Critcher.

The Sheriff doesn't believe that aggressiveness translates into a negative "People" view of Jackson County.

"It's a great place to raise your kids. Small community, everyone knows everyone, and it's just a great feeling to be from Newport and Jackson County," said Sheriff Bishop.

With drugs so prevalent in such a small town, the Sheriff has had to make some tough arrests, including his own niece.

"If your cooking the Jackson County Sheriff's office is cleaning...and that means that if you're out there cooking dope were going to be there cleaning up," said Sheriff Bishop.

The issue of People magazine that features this story should be on newsstands by Tuesday.