Christopher Cochrane, in a recent nTimes  opinion piece, parroted a quote from a local politician that Fauquier and Culpeper counties were the “epicenter” of drug trafficking in Virginia—the suggestion being that Sheriff Bob Mosier is not up to the job.  (Cochrane is opposing Mosier in the June 11 Republican primary.) 

Bunkum.  

Cochrane is entitled to his own opinion, but he’s not entitled to his own facts. 

A look at the Virginia Department of Health's most recent map of fatal opioid overdoses by county, Fauquier was among the lowest percentiles. If there’s an epicenter, it’s the local fight against the abuse of fentanyl and other opioids, along with the dramatic drop in the price of heroin -- hardly the epicenter of the epidemic. 

If elected, Cochrane promises to put together an exclusive task force to take on trafficking and abuse. It conjures up the image of a SWAT team. 

We already have one. It’s called the entire Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office-- and then some. From clerks to dispatchers to patrol officers on up, the department is clearly determined to stop not just the crime -- but the human suffering that follows.   

They have partnered with medical and mental health teams. They are using some of the most advanced tracking technology. And the sheriff expects that Fauquier will soon become a part of the Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force, which will increase funds, manpower and intelligence sharing. 

In part at the urging of one of the sheriff’s staff who lost a son to an overdose, every officer in the field carries Narcan, a nasal spray that attacks the symptoms of an overdose. Mosier named it the Travis Project after her son. And it’s become a standard life saver on the streets. 

The sheriff was recently invited to Richmond to testify before the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Opioids and Addiction. The following are statistics of note: 

  • In 2017 there were 58 opioid-related overdoses. In 2018: 50 overdoses. So far this year we count five opioid-related overdoses. 

  • Drug arrests are directly related to increased enforcement. In 2016: 290 arrests. In 2017: 332. In 2018: 351. Of real interest is the fact that each managerial district had about the same number of overdoses last year. 

Yes, Fauquier County has a drug problem, as does every jurisdiction  especially those near a big city. Yet, I would put our offense in prevention, treatment and enforcement up against any county our size in America. 

Candidate Cochrane repeatedly asks us: “Are you ready for a change?” 

Not for a New York second. 

 

John Sherman 

Paris 

 

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