The new director of the South Central Kentucky Drug Task Force (SCKDTF) got a chance to meet local law enforcement and elected officials Wednesday at a luncheon at the organization’s new offices on Thurston Drive.
Jere Dee Hopson will be taking over for Jerry Smith, who is retiring at the end of the month after having spent 34 years in law enforcement.
Hopson is 48 and lives in Franklin. He is looking forward to getting started as the new drug task force director.
“I’ve told everyone that we’re just going to keep doing things the way we’ve been doing them for the first six months,” Hopson said. “Then we’ll see if any changes need to be made.”
The drug task force will continue working closely with the area police forces.
“We are the covert arm of the police agencies in Logan and Simpson counties,” Hopson said. “Everything we do is in combination with them.”
Hopson is a retired Kentucky State Police Officer serving 22 years before retiring in July of this year. He was a Sergeant in the Drug Enforcement/Special Investigations West Branch for the last 14 years. His parents, Jere and Sally Hopson were from Russellville and his father Jere was also a Kentucky State Police Detective and was a well known Russellville High School football player.
The SCKDTF covers both Logan and Simpson counties and Hopson said both counties have the same problems.
“The top three problems are methamphetamine, prescription drugs and cocaine,” Hopson said. “The meth and prescription drugs have definitely grown over the years. For a while, there was a pretty significant dip in the amount of cocaine we were seeing, but that has been back up on the rise of late.”
Hopson said methamphetamine has been on the rise because it can be made anywhere from relatively common ingredients - the main one being pseudoephedrine.
“You don’t have to bring anything in for meth,” he said. “You already have everything right here to make it in your house.”
Like Smith before him, Hopson favors laws that would make pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in many cold medicines, available only with a prescription.
“I understand lawmakers don’t want to inconvenience citizens by requiring a prescription to buy that,” Hopson said. “But if you don’t do that, then citizens will be inconvenienced with people making meth.”
Hopson is thinks prescription drug abuse could see even bigger problems in the future.
“Oxycontin is about to become a generic drug in Canada and it will become very cheap there,” he said. “Once they figure out how to get it easily into the U.S. I am afraid we could start seeing a lot more of it around here.”