Grant Parish Drug Crime on Rise, Targeting Children

Drug arrests have risen steadily in Grant Parish over the last few years and that has led to a spike in other crimes related to getting drugs.  Sheriff Steven McCain is doing all he can to stem the tide and be proactive in drug prevention.  ABC 31 News’ Joel Massey spoke with him about the crime trends and new developments on drugs targeted to children.

“We’re not unique.  We’ve got problems just like anyone in the United States does.”

But sheriff Steven McCain says Grant Parish doesn’t face the violent crime being reported around the country.

“Our biggest problem is narcotics. It is responsible for about 72 percent of all of our arrests directly or indirectly.  What I mean by that is: Directly means somebody obviously somebody being in possession or selling drugs.  But the indirect problems that it causes or is responsible for in my opinion are much of the thefts and burglaries domestic violence.”

“The trends that we experienced in 2021 don’t appear to be changing for 2022 including the drug arrests, the percentage of people that are being arrested and the large number that are not Grant Parish citizens.”

McCain is a big believer in the DARE program.  When Nancy Reagan founded it in the 80s, psychologists found that 5th grade was the prime grade to intervene and recently the National Sheriffs Association confirmed the same findings.

“I think that we have a responsibility as law enforcement and as good members of the community to truly try to steer our future in the right direction and that’s the kids they’re our most valuable resource and I think that every bit of energy that we can put on them is worth it.”

Grant Parish holds a camp at Camp Grant Walker for 5th graders then one for 9th graders to teach them about topics like ATV and Internet safety as well as an emphasis on resisting drugs.

“It can truly stop today when people make the decision to do the right thing I’m a huge, huge believer in education.”

McCain spoke about the sharp rise of fentanyl abuse and the various ways drugs are targeted to children.

“Two-hundred-fifty people a day are dying in the United States of America because of fentanyl.  It’s a huge, huge problem, and it is pouring across our border every single day.  And the latest trends are not something that’s targeting people of my age it’s focused strictly on our children.  And this is another reason I think it’s so important to make a positive impact with today’s kids.  They’re packaging it in candy and potato chips and corn chips.  The vapes are being disguised as ink pens that truly write just like my ink pin does.  Clothes are being designed that the smoking devices are being embedded into the clothes so if you see somebody with a hooded sweatshirt on, it looks just like a hooded sweatshirt but in fact it may be more than that.  And this stuff can be bought on the Internet, it can be bought in local stores”

Kratom is another drug being marketed as a supplement.  It’s legal to sell in convenience stores in most of the state and gives a high similar to marijuana. Ascension parish has outlawed it and Sheriff McCain is looking to do the same thing in his parish.

“It’s made its way to Grant Parish in the last several months.  It’s strictly targeting kids in my opinion. It’s being pushed as a dietary supplement and sometimes it’s being sold in capsule forms.  Sometimes it’s being sold in the entire leaf.  And so you could chew it like chewing tobacco.”

McCain says his job is much more than just putting people in jail.

“I think that it truly is to provide a service to the people of our community and we’ve got a team of men and women who get up every single day with that goal in mind and that’s to provide the very best service for the people we work for”

McCain will go to the Grant Parish Police Jury later on this month to try to get them to outlaw the herb supplement Kratom.