• Kade Godwin

Grady County looks into the growing drug crisis

More than 50 concerned Grady County residents met with local officials in a town hall meeting on Nov. 29, 2018, at the VanLandingham Center to discuss what they referred to as a "drug crisis" in Grady County.

Captain of the Grady County Sheriff's Office, Chris Luckey, stated that the purpose of the meeting was to inform residents about steering clear of dangerous substances before they come into contact with them. Another topic that was brought up was the possible establishment of a designated drug task force specifically in Grady County to combat drug distributors.

"We're finding that these distributors are targeting areas and then actually sending people in just to monitor law enforcement and how they operate," Luckey said. "They're setting up their organizations in counties that they know don't have a drug task force or anything to focus on them at top of mind."

Chair officer of Drug Free Grady, Nola Daughtry, echoed that statement by saying that the lack of a drug combatant task force leaves the county vulnerable for such drug distribution: "We're a sitting target in Grady County. Everybody around us has a task force, but we don't."

Grady County was, at one point, part of the Southwest Georgia Drug Task Force, which is a multi-county alliance that consisted of Baker, Grady and Mitchell Counties. Grady stayed with the SGDTF for more than a decade before deciding to keep such investigations in-house in 2009.

Captain Luckey currently handles most drug investigations for the county, but he is often required to work in other areas and cannot dedicate his time fully to drug-related investigations. Without full-time investigators, drug related cases often get "swept under the rug."

As of now, Grady County doesn't take part in the DARE or CHANCE youth drug awareness programs. However, the county is taking action by requiring all Grady County schools to participate in the Drug Free Grady program, whose initiative is to "improve all its citizens’ quality of life by reducing Substance Abuse use and provide more positive youth development programs in the county."