August 27, 2013
The Pratt County Sheriff allowed us rare access to some of what his deputies find on drug dealers and users. Sometimes it's small amounts of marijuana, other times it's pounds of weed. He says deputies also find lots of drug paraphernalia.
In Pratt County District Court, it's just another drug case forCcounty Attorney Ken VanBlaricum. So far this year he's seen 61 cases.
"Not only are these people using the drugs at an alarming rate, but too many of them are getting involved in sellers," VanBlaricum said.
What's even more disturbing, he says, is that the drug users and sellers are young, in their teens and early twenties.
The teens we talked to admit, drugs are everywhere in their community.
"You definitely know it goes on in the high school," said Pratt student Jaci Kolm. "People are openly talking about it. They're not shy."
Student Paige Freund agrees.
"You see it going around. You see your friends," she said. "I have a little brother. I worry about what his choice is going to be."
VanBlaricum partially blames the rise in drugs on the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. He says traffickers pick it up there and bring it back to his small town to make a quick buck.
"We like to think of Pratt as wholesome," said Van Blaricum. "A good place to raise children. It disturbs me to see young people get involved in something that is not wholesome."
He advises everyone to talk to their kids and says law enforcement is working hard to keep the drug problem from spreading.