Friday, March 05, 2010

Drug Interdiction Summit Seeks to Solve Northern New Mexico Drug Problem.

I have been writing a few articles for law enforcement publications and I thought I would share with you the following one I wrote for the New Mexico Lawman, a publication of the New Mexico Sheriff's and Police Association.

Drug Interdiction Summit Seeks to Solve Northern New Mexico Drug Problem.

Mayor Joseph Maestas spent his last days in office at a Drug Interdiction summit in his hometown of Espanola New Mexico. Northern New Mexico and Espanola have had a long history of Drug abuse that spans generations. Grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren within many families all are addicted or use drugs. The results are high property crime rates and the highest rate per capita of drug overdoses in the nation.

The summit was hosted by Mayor Maestas and City Police Chief Julian Gonzales on February 25, 2010 and included sheriffs, city police, state police, federal officials, district attorneys and members of the medical and treatment fields. The summit was facilitated by New Mexico First. Participants were broken up into two groups and each were tasked with coming up with ideas to combat the problem. Ideas were taken at large and broken down into groups of things we are not doing now, things we can do better and things we need to stop doing. Thirty or forty ideas were then broken down into four groups of importance from most important to least. The majority of participants were law enforcement and many in the public would be surprised to find that education, intervention, and treatment were very popular as opposed to incarceration and prosecution.

On the Law enforcement side a lot of participants felt that using recent efforts to strengthen and enforce D.W.I. laws would be a good model to use in drug interdiction. Making it the next state priority was the theme. Another popular idea was revising the states forfeiture laws to make them more usable and enforceable. Of course lack of funding was another big discussion.

New Mexico first is going to gather the results of the summit into a report and action plan which will hopefully be the blueprint for the future of combating drug abuse in Northern New Mexico. At the end of the day nine recommendations were made to be part of the action plan.

· A comprehensive strategy for coordinating programs for law enforcement, prevention, and training

· Formalizing and coordinating multidisciplinary, multi-agency drug interdiction initiatives

· A greater commitment to the Region III task force that is showing positive results in drug interdiction in the region

· A community involvement campaign targeting neighborhood associations, church groups, and rural groups in helping address narcotic and criminal activity

· Implementing evidence-based youth prevention programs

· Revising the state forfeiture statute

The summit recommendations will be turned over to an Implementation Team comprised of volunteers from the event who are in a position to move the recommendations forward. A full report on the results of the summit will be released in about two weeks and will be posted at

By Sheriff Greg Solano, Santa Fe County



Dennis O'Brien Sr. said...

And that is part of the problem... TOO MUCH talk and not enough action and REAL verification...

Workable solutions exist and the road out has been taped. The trouble is that these true and result making programs are not allowed or invited to such deliberations... those in charge of the money are those that have not proven their efforts and should be removed...

In fact many of the established and funded so called main stream "good programs" just create future and harder problems.

An example... Methadone is MUCH MUCH HARDER to kick than Heroin. And now we are offering even harder and stronger drugs as a solution to drugs! The result of these medical and psychiatric based programs is a zombie dependent on programs that don't rehabilitate. These are counted as "good results".

Results based funding is a great idea but those that define the results are those that think they have the answers and don't! Or they are the ones that are asked to judge themselves on their performance.

If you are a program that is getting results you need to prove yourself to those that comprise region III who are also providers and ask them to give up part of their funding... give me a break!

I am reminded of a story of long long ago...

A group of wise men, divine, educated and important would meet and take up and give answers to questions that they themselves would offer up for deliberation...

On one occasion they offered and then took up a question and they pondered and argued for days and days... and when tired they rested and when hungry they ate but they continued on the question... surely the answer would be found as these scholars were wise and important, educated in the best schools and endowed with incredible insight and wisdom... They were the Authorities!

The question they pondered: How many teeth in the mouth of an Equus caballus!

After months of deliberation and no answer they could agree on... A lowly servant offered a solution to which he was almost beheaded... how dare he offer, even speak in such a place of divine academic elitism!

The solution offered by this lowly uneducated but caring servant; Look into the mouth and count!

And so it is and continues to be with the efforts of drug prevention and correction in Northern New Mexico... Millions upon Millions have been wasted while some workable programs offering help and workable solutions are made to beg for money while those with strong political or academic connections continue to push wrong and damaging programs that have not worked.

Those results claimed are vague at best. The only real claim should be defined, predictable and measurable in real viewable statistics. Rehabilitation is not open to vague interpretation.

I applaud those that continue to work on this... Especially those that do the real work! The Church groups, the volunteers and the families...

Working with those who have become addicted is hard work. IT takes a unique and incredible person to take on this problem. You are the servants! You are the heroes!

The damage done to community, family and friends can never be repaid. But with the proper definitions of and with proper verification of results or no funding! The job can get done!

To those seeking some TRUTH or help can go here.

Tom Chepucavage said...

Greg thank you for covering this Summit and this topic. I had a cousin that died of a heroin overdose at Rammstein Airforce base in Germany. Let me know if there is anyway that I can volunteer in this area to help people. My IT skills would be the easiest.

Sheriff Greg Solano said...

Thank you Tom and Dennis for your comments and concern for this issue. I will keep you in mind for any way we can tap you for help.