For budgetary and personnel reasons, according to Rappahannock County Sheriff Connie C. Smith, the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office no longer participates in the State Police-sponsored Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gangs Task Force. The neighboring counties of Fauquier, Culpeper, Greene, Madison and Orange, however, seem to have found the money and manpower necessary to participate.
Of the Task Force’s 265 investigations last year, seven occurred in Rappahannock despite the county’s lack of official participation.
An estimated nine percent of 12- to 17-year-olds in Virginia have used illicit drugs in the past month, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Anecdotal evidence suggests that percentage is probably even higher here in Rappahannock.
For rural areas of the country have been especially hard hit by cheap heroin and stolen prescription drugs. In pastoral Vermont, for example, youthful addiction is so bad now that the governor devoted his annual State of the State address solely to what he termed “a full-blown heroin crisis.”
The very remoteness of rural areas — and corresponding limited supply of drugs — means the profit margins can be that much bigger than for traditional big-city drug trafficking. And the demand is high — from “bored” teenagers with “nothing to do, stuck in the middle of nowhere.”
Thus, according to people who study such things, a bag of heroin can be bought in large cities for as little as $4, but can be sold for $30 — or more! — in rural areas.
In the meantime, law-enforcement patrol vehicles on U.S. 211 and 522 are on the vigilant lookout for cars inadvertently cruising a few miles over the posted speed limit.