Community Spotlight: Independence County Meth

February 22, 2007 - Posted at 4:12 p.m. CST

INDEPENDENCE COUNTY, AR -- Meth addiction is a problem that has escaladed over the last couple of years.  The addiction can destroy lives.

"We got a problem like everyone else does and we fight it best we can, it's a battle. And I would like to sit here and tell you that we are going to win the war but it's a hard fight," said Independence County Sheriff Keith Bowers.

The fight against methamphetamine is a problem across Region 8.  The drug is found in the Independence County area primarily in brick form, as "ice" imported from across the border.

"A large amount of the meth, ice, is coming from Mexico, mainly from Texas and I think it has increased the problem just due to the natural connections that people in Batesville have with the relatives and acquaintances back in Mexico," said Bowers.

The 16th Judicial Task Force works to stop the larger dealers and manufacturers in Independence County, but Sheriff Bowers hopes one day to have a narcotics force for himself.

"Probably about 75% of people re-offend.  It's just the way it is.  It's a demon drug and it's a bad habit to quit," said Bowers. And it's a drug that doesn't discriminate.

"Meth shows no respect to a person.  You can have somebody on meth in the poorest part of town, but you can have people on meth in the richest part of town.  It's the worst drug in my lifetime that I have ever seen," said Bowers.

Sheriff Bowers says that meth is not the only drug law enforcement is battling in Independence County.  Both marijuana and cocaine have made recent significant comebacks on the drug scene there.