Midland County Sheriff discusses alcohol, drug abuse leading to jail time

Midland County Sheriff discusses alcohol, drug abuse leading to jail time
Midland County Jail (Source: KWES)

MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - Most of the people locked up in the Midland County Jail are drug or alcohol abusers and it's all connected to their crimes, according to Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter.

Painter said it's easy to spot who the drug and alcohol users are. According to Painter their behavior, the statements they give and their smell all give it away. Painter said many times these users try to justify the crimes they are accused of because they were drunk of high.

"90-95% of the people that come into the Midland County Jail have a problem with alcohol or drugs," said Painter.

Behavior like this has been common to Painter since the start of his career, decades ago. Painter said police often learn even with non-drug related charges, the person being charged was under the influence when they committed the crime.

Painter said, "There is no right way to do a wrong thing. I have no compassion to people that want to drink, get high, use dope [and] use that as a crutch, use it as an excuse."

Painter said he has seen dependent users resort to drugs or alcohol during both economic booms and downfalls.

"Now that times are bad, people are losing their jobs, they're getting more depressed. They're drinking more thinking that'll make the problem go away." said Painter, "Alcohol and narcotics are a depressant so if they're in a depressed mood and they take a depressant. It just makes them more depressed."

Painter said he thinks this behavior is becoming more common because of how easy it is to obtain drugs and alcohol and said these users need help.

"The victims, I feel so sad for them. They'll pay for it for the rest of their life and they didn't ask for it, and it's the sad part. It's sad," said Painter.

Painter said emergency rooms can provide a list of resources for drug and alcohol abusers.

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