LEAD — South Dakota Attorney General’s Office Drug Prosecutor Robert Haivala and South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Steve Ardis recently discussed the rising drug use in South Dakota.
Special Agent Ardis spent the first half of the session going over some of the major drugs Western South Dakota struggles with. He explained that there are four main drug types that the state deals with:
• Depressants — which slow down the central nerves system
• Stimulants — which speed up the central nerves system
• Hallucinogens – which causes perceptual anomalies
• Narcotics — which block pain receptors and in many cases induce sleep
Ardis highlighted marijuana and methamphetamine as the two most common drugs investigators encounter in the Black Hills, with prescription drug abuse as a rising concern.
“South Dakota is one of the last (states) holding out on legalizing marijuana,” he said. “What the marijuana industry does is, once they get in medically that’s how they get their foot in the door, and then their able to get to recreational or legal marijuana.”
Haivala spent his section of the talk explaining some of the steps the South Dakota Attorney General’s office is taking to help fix the drug problem once addicts end up in the court system. He pointed to drug courts as an effective way to treat addicts to help them overcome their addiction and move forward with their lives. Through the normal flow of the judicial system, drug cases can be long and protracted, leaving the addicts with an extended amount of time before they are faced with the consequences of their actions. Drug courts are set up to expedite that process in order to be more effective.
“What psychologists have found is