VALLEY, Ala. (WRBL) – The Chambers County Drug Task Force Commander discusses two concerning trends with WRBL News 3. The first was an increase in heroin use across the community. Second, a spike of younger people, including teens, accused of trafficking illegal drugs.

The Chambers County Drug Taskforce raided a home along 33rd Street in Valley on December 8, 2021, discovering a plastic container with two pounds of methamphetamine, one and a half pounds of marijuana, two Xanax bars, $775 in US currency, and a short-barreled shotgun.

18-year-old Grace Smith of Valley was arrested, charged with Trafficking in Meth, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of a short-barrel shotgun.

“It shocked me for an 18-year-old to have that much narcotics here in Chambers County. But yes, a lot of younger folks are getting into the drug game,” said Commander Steve Smith.

In 2021, The Drug Task Force arrested 138 individuals on 475 charges. Seized 34 weapons, eight vehicles believed to be used in the illegal drug trade, and $43,378.91 in US currency. The Task Force also recovered 4.92 lbs. of marijuana worth $20,000 on the street, two ounces of powder cocaine worth $3,750 on the street, 279 prescription pills worth $2,790 on the street and 3.84 lbs of meth worth $104,520 on the street.

The 2021 review did not reflect an overall increase in heroin use in the community, which worries Commander Smith as the area has seen several overdose deaths.

“Over the past seven to eight months, we have seen an increase in heroin. Over the past year and a half, we have had several overdoses, and three resulted in death. Right now, we are seeing more heroin in the community, we have not got any pure Fentanyl, but some narcotics we have recovered have been laced with Fentanyl,” said Commander Smith.

Commander Smith urges parents to speak with their children and understand marijuana use is illegal in Alabama. Smith, who has been in law enforcement since 1996, and spent most of his career investigating narcotics, believes marijuana is a gateway drug.

“If they start with marijuana, they get a certain high, need something else to get another high, then that turns from marijuana to meth to heroin,” said Smith.

Smith urges parents to speak with their children often about illegal drug use. Keep prescription medications locked up, and when you are done with a prescription, dispose of it properly. If you need more information on drug education or would like the drug task force to speak with your children or group, give them a call via the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office. Citizens may report drug activity by calling 334-756-0570.