SD Mayors Talk Addiction, Team Up To Fight Meth
Monday we heard from Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether about taking on the problems surrounding meth. Now another Mayor is joining him in the fight. Both say it’s time we bring awareness to the problem and come up with a solution to combat it.
They make decisions on opposite sides of the state, but the Sioux Falls and Rapid City Mayors were side by side Tuesday, talking about what they say isn’t a popular topic in Pierre.
“The prevalence of meth use and the impact of meth addiction has sort of kind of undermined some of those great principals that were used to reform the criminal justice system,” said Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender.
Most of what Huether and Allender talked about was Senate Bill 70, a bill passed in 2013 aimed at keeping non-violent drug offenders out of jail. They say while it’s well-intentioned, meth challenges the premise of the bill. That’s because meth users often commit other crimes, many of them violent.
“I don’t think it was created with the hardcore junkie in mind because the junkie has to commit crimes to find funding any way possible,” said Allender.
Even if someone wants it, the two say help is hard to come by.
Huether said, “If you’ve got this meth problem, if you’re a meth addict, and if you want to get treatment, where in the world are you gunna go?”
Huether says funding mental health needs to be a priority and officials need to work together to make it happen.
Huether said, “That includes a statewide effort, whether it be Gov. (Dennis) Daugaard, the legislature, Mayors across the state, we are going to have to kind of lobby together to ultimately make this difference.”
Allender says ‘hand slapping won’t serve any justice’. He says perhaps a solution is holding felony charges over these criminals’ heads until they complete treatment programs.
Allender says nearly all of their officer involved shootings have involved meth addicts.