Springfield police say there are more illegal drugs on the streets than ever before

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Access to illegal drugs is at an all-time high in Springfield according to a new annual report provided by police.

“We have all the issues that St. Louis or Kansas City have, maybe not the volume, but we all have the same issues,” Lt. David Meyer said.

He heads the Springfield Police Department’s Special Investigations Section.

He has been with the department since the late 1990s and says he has never seen the level of illegal narcotics activity as high as it is now.

“There are more drugs on the street than ever before, fentanyl, methamphetamine. It is unprecedented,” he said.

Local agents are working with partner federal agencies to track down major dealers.

“We’re after the big fish,” Meyer said.

In 2021, officers reported record amounts of drug seizures.

Illegal marijuana was highest at nearly 24,000 ounces. This is a 1500% increase over the previous year.

“We have a task force officer who was working on a case with the DEA. They received information about a shipment coming in that weighed over 1,000 pounds,” Meyer explained.

Cocaine and methamphetamine are always big problems. Methamphetamine confiscations 124% at nearly 844 oz. The amount of cocaine removed from the streets rose 635% to just over 1,200 ounces.

“Methamphetamine is still king in Springfield. We seize more meth than any other drug here,” he said.

However, opioids are the biggest problem plaguing the community.

“The opioid crisis that we have, with people overdosing, I’m a big contributor to fentanyl,” Meyer said.

More than 550 overdoses were reported last year and more than 60 people died.

Meyer says it changed the focus of his section. Officers were able to seize large quantities of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl earlier this year.

He says it has already made a difference.

“We had zero overdose deaths during the month of March, which is huge for us because we’ve had multiple overdose deaths every month for the past two years,” Meyer explained.

He hopes to maintain this trend.

“It’s an uphill battle, but we will continue to fight it,” he said.

Police credit the community for helping them track down illicit drug activity.

Meyer says many of their investigations begin with called councils.

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