Marty Jackley Shares His Plan To Address the Drug Epidemic

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – On Tuesday evening, Jackley told a room of concerned faces that about one third of the state’s drug arrests take place in Sioux Falls. However, Jackley says that’s consistent with the population, since Sioux Falls is the largest city in the state.

Jackley has three key components to his proposed plan to tackle the drug epidemic: prevention, “reasonable enforcement,” and treatment. Jackley also believes that marijuana is a gateway drug to meth.

“As a father, I’m very worried for my two children’s sake, with both, when you look at the drug use and the school shootings,” said Jackley. “That’s why I’m so passionate.”

The attorney general wants tougher penalties and sentences for those that sell meth: up to 15 years.

“We as a state are treating the dealers and manufacturers differently because they’re the ones that are bringing the poison into our state,” said Jackley.

According to Sioux Falls police chief Matt Burns, there were just under 3,000 narcotics cases in 2017 in Sioux Falls. That’s 200 more than there were in 2016.

Burns says we’re down in a lot of the crime categories – like rape. However, drugs are claiming lives fast.

“The biggest challenge we have are the drug crimes,” said Jackley. “It’s a national epidemic, especially on meth and opioids. Our state legislature has given state law enforcement additional tools and we’re going to use those to get the dealers out of our state.”

Jackley is also passionate about Project Stand Up. It’s less than a year old. Jackley wants to make it a bigger part of drug education in South Dakota middle and high schools. He says there’s a number that people can anonymously text – one that’s brought forward 300 cases. 18 percent of those are in Sioux Falls.

According to police chief Matt Burns, calls for service also went up seven percent last year.

Jackley wants two build two treatment centers – one on the western side of the state and one of the eastern side of the state. Details are still in the works. However, he says they’ll be funded through partnerships between the private and public sector.

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