Drug Investigation Now Part Of Job For A State Trooper

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The State Highway Patrol is usually thought of as the regulators of the speed limit on highways.

But now, state troopers are now being used to fight the war on drugs, especially on Route 33.

Lieutenant George Harlow is with the Athens post of the Ohio Highway Patrol.  

He says that troopers haven't made many changes to their operations, but those that have been made work well. 

"What we're finding out is that traffic safety, when we do traffic enforcement well, that leads naturally to criminal investigations, to drug interdiction.  And when you put it all together, it just equals a safer Ohio, so it's working out very well," says Harlow.

Harlow says troopers are now more on the lookout for drugs, but that doesn't mean traffic safety is taking a backseat. 

"We've put it on an equal plane.  The traffic safety, the enforcement of motor vehicle laws is still important, and it's something we do each and every day, but we do it now with that criminal element in the backs of our minds, and we're looking beyond the reason for the initial stop," says Harlow.

He adds that heroin is a problem throughout the state, not just in southeast Ohio or Route 33, which has earned the name "Heroin Highway."