COLUMBUS — There has been a noticeable upsurge in controlled substance offenses in Platte County over the last couple of years, but the cause of the current trend remains murky.

Platte County Attorney Carl Hart has a simple answer for how his office handles the prosecution of methamphetamine and other drug offenses in the local courts.

“If you’re selling meth, you’re a public menace in Platte County,” said Hart while describing his stance on pursuing drug dealers across the county.

The county attorney’s office reported a sharp jump in possession and delivery of controlled substance offenses two years ago. The office handled 89 cases in 2016, compared to 52 a year earlier.

That upward trend has continued into 2017, but at a slower pace. The office registered 85 cases of possession or delivery of a controlled substance through the first 11 months of this year.

Hart acknowledges the number of controlled substance offenses has swelled the last two years, but stops short of pointing to a specific reason.

It could be because of growing meth usage or it might be the result of a greater emphasis on the problem by law enforcement authorities, Hart said. It's difficult to determine the reasons for the rise, he said.

Platte County went through a six-year period from 2008-13 of never topping 60 controlled substance violations. The county had a low of 34 offenses in 2009.

None of the annual figures includes cases for possession of marijuana or K2.

Meth and other drug cases have become a fairly entrenched issue, Hart said, but local law enforcement does a good job of staying on top of it.

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Reporter

Jim Osborn is a news reporter at The Columbus Telegram.

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