In the region: Widespread opioid use challenges law enforcement

Tom Murphy was one the guest speakers at the Chamber’s State of the Community event held Wednesday morning at the Culpeper Country Club. Murphy works for the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of State Police as the coordinator for the Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gang Task Force. “Culpeper is ground zero,” said Murphy, “the drugs are here and we’re dealing with it every day.”

Close to home, Baltimore, Maryland, according to Murphy, is the “heroin capital of the United States.” Murphy noted that Baltimore’s harbor makes it a prime location to bring drugs into the country because of its cargo ships.

For several years, the word ‘epidemic’ has been used when talking about the drug crisis.

Murphy shared a startling graphic. The United States comprises about 5 percent of the world’s population but accounts for 75 percent of opioid use. “That figure is closer to 82 percent now,” said Murphy.

While doctors and pharmacies are being more closely monitored and educated about prescribing/administering painkillers for long periods of time, Murphy also reported that 75 percent of heroin users were previously addicted to painkillers.

“Get rid of them safely if prescription painkillers are in your homes and no longer needed,” encouraged Murphy, “don’t throw them away in the trash…they could end up in your children’s hands, their friends, or sold.”

Notwithstanding their rural character, no county within the jurisdiction covered by the Blue Ridge Task Force has been immune. In fact, contrary to some misconceptions that drug users are predominantly found in urban areas, again according to statistics that Murphy shared, the average user is a white male, in his 30s and living in a rural area.

He also mentioned that the area is home to some 350-360 known gang members.  

Murphy shared that their manpower resources are strained as they continue to combat an opioid crisis challenging law enforcement.

Here in Culpeper, Sheriff Scott Jenkins wants the community to be fully aware of the magnitude of the problem as they deal with it each day.

These releases from the sheriff’s office report on events occurring Thursday, March 30.

Cocaine arrest

On March 30, 2017 at approximately 12:12 a.m., Deputy Kerry Grigsby observed a vehicle that was travelling south on James Madison Highway in the Reva area. The vehicle was travelling partially in the roadway and partially on the shoulder. Deputy Grigsby initiated a traffic stop believing the driver may have some type of impairment. The driver was given a field sobriety test, but that test determined that he was not intoxicated. During his investigation, Deputy Grigsby also made contact with a passenger in the vehicle. She was identified as Carrissa Edwards, a 36-year- old female from Mebane, NC. It was discovered that Edwards was wanted out of California for a previous narcotic violation. While waiting to confirm the warrants, Deputy Jonathan Kerns and his partner, K9 Karma, arrived on scene and conducted a free air sniff of the vehicle. After Karma indicated the presence of narcotics in the vehicle, a search was conducted. Cocaine was discovered in a tote located inside of the vehicle. After being read her Miranda Warnings, Edwards admitted that the cocaine belonged to her. Edwards was arrested for Possession of

Cocaine and transported to the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office Jail, where she was held without bond.

Overdose

On March 30, 2017, at approximately 9:40 p.m., Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Kerry Grigsby, Sgt. Christopher Hibbs and EMS responded to the 5300 block of Hoover Rd. in Reva for a reported CPR in progress as the result of an overdose.  Once on scene the deputies located Timothy Comisky, a 36 year-old male from Reva, unresponsive. Comisky was administered two doses of Naloxone by the deputies. He then began to regain consciousness and was transported to Novant Health UVA Health Culpeper Medical Center to receive further treatment by Culpeper County EMS. During a search of the residence, Sgt. Hibbs and Deputy Grigsby discovered several items that are commonly used in consuming illegal narcotics.

While Sgt. Hibbs and Dep. Grigsby were conducting the investigation at the residence, Deputy Shawn Walters and Deputy Ashton Jenkins secured a search warrant for the blood content of Comisky.  The search warrant was executed at the hospital and charges will be pending based on the results of the forensic analysis from the lab.  

On February 18, 2017 Comisky was involved in a pursuit that started in Fauquier County, and continued into Culpeper County.  During that pursuit several Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office vehicles sustained minor damage.  Comisky was apprehended in that case by the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office and charged with Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, Possession of Heroin and Driving While Revoked.

 

About Anita Sherman 145 Articles
Anita Sherman is the editor of the Culpeper Times. You may reach her at anita@culpepertimes.com