Two county law-enforcement collectives led by the sheriff's department — the Methamphetamine Strike Force and Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force – swarmed the South Bay on February 19, contacting over 4700 individuals as part of the 17th "Tip the Scales" anti-drug operation conducted over the last six years.
For the first time, according to a release from sheriff's Lt. Chris May, the focus was not on illegal drugs but users of prescribed medications.
"Prescription-drug overdoses kill more people in San Diego County than car crashes,” says May. "Today, we’re seeing people get hooked on prescription drugs, then turn to other drugs, like heroin, when they can’t afford their pills."
The 4739 contacts, conducted in "known hotspots for drug-related crime" in National City, Chula Vista, and Imperial Beach, resulted in 20 arrests and 83 citations. Three people on probation were referred to drug-treatment programs as a result of the operation, and one child was removed from a home deemed unsafe due to drug activity or related neglect.
Drug counselors at a command post also had 19 "treatment conversations" with users about their drug use, its impact on their lives, and treatment options.
"At its heart, the intent of Tip the Scale has always been to link offenders more closely with other important community resources, including drug treatment, recovery programs, and resources for independent living,” concluded division chief Jason Druxman of the county's Probation Department.