BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF)

Law enforcement officers in Belmont and Jefferson counties are seeing a disturbing trend—rising numbers of drugged drivers on the roads.

So both sheriff’s departments are teaming up with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Martins Ferry Police, Gold Khourey & Turak, and Crossroads Counseling to get those drivers off the roads.

“We’re seeing more drugged suspects coming into our jail,” noted Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas. “Our officers carry Narcan in the cars, and more and more they’re having to use Narcan out in the field.”

They will be intensely watching drivers for drug impairment June 9 through August 28.

And they say they need the public’s help on that.

“If you’re traveling down the road and you suspect that someone is impaired by drugs or even alcohol, contact the Highway Patrol post,” said Lt. Maurice Waddell, post commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “You can do that by #677 or you can simply dial 911.”

Crossroads Counseling Service is part of the effort, offering help for those with substance use disorder.

“We offer a wide range of educational programs as well as comprehensive screening,” said Crossroads’ Executive Director Shannan Watson.

Gold Khourey & Turak, the law firm that sponsors Booze Cruise You Lose in the schools, is equally passionate about the tragic results of drugged driving.

“It affects thousands of people’s lives,” said Christopher Turak. “Not just those who are impaired or have been arrested, but also those who are injured as a result of the accidents.”

What signs do we look for?

“Weaving within their lane, erratic speed—very high speeds or very slow—or even simply pulling off onto the berm with their head slumped over the wheel,” said Lt. Waddell. “If you see that, you definitely need to call us.”

They say the drugs they see most are prescription drugs and illegal narcotics.

They say the goal is to prevent crashes that cause injury or death.

The initiative starts June 9 and will be in effect Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., through August 28.