Pickens Sheriff’s Department obtains illegal vaping products, plus a statement on vaping from the School Board

News, Press Release


JASPER, Ga.- The Pickens County Sheriff’s department obtained illegal vaping products containing Schedule I Narcotics from three local businesses on Friday, March 29, 2019.

The Pickens County Board of Education also released the following statement today regarding the use of vaping products on school property:

Dear Parents and Community Members,

I want to express my sincere appreciation for the support you continue to give to our school system. I am reaching out to you in hopes that you will step-up and join us in battling an epidemic that continues to rob our children of their health, education, and possibly even their lives.

This year alone, we have had sixty-four (64) incidences of vaping on school property – that’s only the number of students that have been caught. We have had multiple students in need of immediate medical treatment after inhaling toxic substances from vaping.

Do you know what a vaping device looks like? These devices come in different styles, shapes, and sizes, and look like common items such as ink pens, computer flash drives, or computer mice. The liquid inhaled from these devices, also known as “vape juice,” can contain many types of dangerous substances such as THC oil, fentanyl, LSD, and a substance known as “kronic.” The initial intention of vaping was to find an alternative to cigarette smoking. That is no longer the case. Vaping is a way for individuals to get high without being easily noticed because there is no smoke or odor from using the device.

We need your help! As a school system, we are working to develop age-appropriate information to share with our students in order to better educate them about the dangers of vaping or using any type of drug. We are asking each of you to help share information about the dangers of vaping, e-cigarettes, and especially the dangers of using vapes to ingest drugs. If you are purchasing the vapes for your children to use, please stop.

Posted Friday, March 29, 2019 by the Pickens County Board of Education (click to enlarge).

Take time to educate yourself on the different devices being used so that you will know what to look for. Talk with your children about the dangers in using. For additional information, you can visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco and the U.S. Surgeon General website at https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov.

Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our students and staff. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your child’s school or my office. Again, we appreciate the support you give to the Pickens County School District.

Be part of the solution. The life you save may be the life of a child’s friend, a relative, or that of your own child.

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Former Cobb medical examiner and others charged with racketeering in Cherokee County for opioid distribution

Featured, News

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. – Dr. Joseph L. Burton, a former county medical examiner and forensic pathologist, has been charged along with other individuals by warrants sworn to by agents of the Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad (CMANS) with RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations) charges in Cherokee County related to the illegal distribution of opioid painkillers and other drugs. Multiple individuals have also been arrested on federal and state charges related to the unlawful distribution of opioids prescribed by Burton in Barrow County, Bartow County, Cobb County, Fayette County, Floyd County, Gwinnett County, Hall County and Paulding County.

This investigation by CMANS Agents was in coordination with authorities throughout the north metro area, as well as the Georgia Drug and Narcotics Agency and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and included coordinated indictments in at least eight counties and in Federal Court.

Burton and the seven other individuals are charged in a federal indictment presented by DEA, released yesterday, with conspiring to distribute and dispense controlled substances—outside of the normal course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose—from July 2015 to February 2018. Burton is also charged with 10 individual counts of illegal drug distribution for specific prescriptions. Over a roughly two-year period beginning in July 2015, Dr. Burton allegedly issued over 1,100 opioid prescriptions, which amounted to over 108,000 individual doses, including over 66,000 30mg oxycodone pills. The indictment alleges that Burton prescribed opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone, irrespective of any legitimate medical purpose and outside the normal course of professional practice.

The following individuals are charged in Cherokee County with charges related to this organization:

• Burton, Joseph Lawson;
• Hunter, Jennifer;
• Willis, Tiffany;
• Fossett, Nancy;
• Cargile, Sandy;
• Cargile, Justin;
• Cargile, Roy;
• Morgan, Jerry;
• Saye, Harold;
• Tatum, David;
• Jenkins, Joyce Justene;
• Danner, Michelle; and
• Powell, Ashley

The abuse of prescription pain-killers is the root cause of heroin abuse in Cherokee County, and CMANS Agents have worked alongside our neighbors and federal partners to address this serious problem. Agents from CMANS actively pursue cases related to opioid abuse involving fraudulent prescriptions, cases of double doctoring, or, as in this case, medical professionals who violate their oath. Burton’s arrest marks the third arrest this year in Cherokee County of persons with medical connections arrested for drug charges.

The Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad is a joint task force working in Cherokee County to investigate drug-related violations. Participating agencies include the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, the Canton Police Department, the Woodstock Police Department, the Holly Springs Police Department, the Ball Ground Police Department, the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office for the Blue Ridge Judicial Circuit, and the Georgia State Patrol. Citizens may call in tips anonymously to 770-345-7920 or may speak to an agent by calling 678-493-7625.

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