U.P. has tools to fight illegal drugs

An update from the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET) last week contained some disturbing information. Ron Koski, team leader of UPSET, spoke to community leaders Wednesday in Escanaba.

In addition to an update on UPSET activities, Koski outlined the types of drugs that are now prevalent in the Upper Peninsula. No one can deny that there is a drug problem in the U.P. and Delta County. In that aspect, our corner of the world shares something in common with the rest of the country. It seems ominous, though, that Koski lists prescription drugs and meth as the most common illegal drug use in the area. Perhaps most disturbing, however, is that Koski cites heroin as being a problem in Dickinson, Menominee and Marquette counties. A quick look at the map and you’ll see that Delta County is surrounded by those neighboring counties.

It seems that eventually most trends find their way to the Upper Peninsula. Unfortunately, it seems that drug use and the types of illegal drugs are no exception.

UPSET has been around since 1988 and currently covers 12 counties in the U.P. It seems the agency is facing new drugs and new challenges as each year progresses. UPSET, though, has been an effective weapon in the fight against drugs in the U.P. Some residents may remember the drug CAT and the problems it caused in the U.P. back in the 1990s. CAT was an illegal drug that was rampantly being manufactured in cladestint “labs” throughout the U.P. during the 90s. It was somewhat similar to meth production today. In fact, the U.P. was the top supplier of CAT in the entire United States.

Over several years, in a concerted effort of police work, arrests, and prosecution, UPSET was credited with all but ending what was massive CAT production in the U.P. The good guys won.

That’s why UPSET needs the public’s help and support more than ever. If you suspect drug activity, report it to your local police or call UPSET at 1-800-882-8202. Just as important, UPSET has been struggling to obtain financing for years. The next time you see one of your elected officials – on the local, state or federal level – tell them how important you think UPSET’s mission is. Funding UPSET is tax money well spent. Make sure the people you vote for know that.