Colville police warn that drug use is on the rise

Courtesy illustration
Katie Leithead
S-E Staff Reporter

Police encourage the community to call 911

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact crime rate in Colville, but the Colville Police Department keeps a close eye on what types of crimes occur in the city.

One way to track crime is through calls for service. Every time someone calls the police, whether it’s because they spotted suspicious activity or there’s a crime in progress, that call is recorded. Not every call leads to a crime, and not every crime reported is the crime that’s charged, but the approximate numbers do show trends.

There were 48 drug-related calls for service last year. Drug calls are typically when someone calls the police to report someone selling drugs, when someone finds a bunch of used needles or when an officer comes across prescription drugs laying around. This number does not necessarily represent the enforcement product, it represents the phone calls for service that comes in specifically for drugs.

“We’ve seized more vehicles and we’ve served more drug search warrants in the last two years than the previous two,” Colville Police Chief Robert “Bob” Meshishnek said. “I would say drug usage is on the rise, but it’s not only heroin, methamphetamine. It’s prescription drugs, it’s anything tied to opiods. I think combined, the illegal use of drugs is on the rise and continues to rise.”

When considering what drives the crime on Colville, Meshishnek said it has a strong link to drugs.

“What I see, a lot of the thefts, burglaries and assaults are tied to drugs,” Meshishnek said. “That would be an indicator in the numbers we looked at that are getting or worse.”

While opioids and prescription drugs have been a growing problem, there’s a new drug rising in popularity: Fentanyl.

More statistics on the Colville Police Department's calls for service are in the Jan. 10 edition of the S-E, available online here.