Police Chief OD’s on Stolen Fentanyl

James Hughes Jr., 35, of Kirkersville, Ohio, died from a fentanyl overdose less than three months after he was appointed as chief of police. Unsettling evidence has surfaced indicating that Hughes stole the Fentanyl on which he overdosed from the police department’s evidence room.

Lt. Ron Wright, from the nearby Reynoldsburg Police Department, said the drugs likely were evidence in other, on-going cases. “I’m no evidence room expert,” said Wright, “but there are proper procedures,” implying that such procedures may not have been followed, or that there was a lack of oversight. “Probably someone from the state’s AG office should look into it,” he said.

Authorities found Hughes in his home on May 25th, unresponsive because of ingestion of  Fentanyl. Just two and a half months earlier on March 13th, the village council had convened a special meeting to name Hughes as chief. The previous chief Jeff Finley had resigned without notice, due to “irreconcilable differences” with the town’s mayor, Terry Ashcraft.

After Hughes’ death, some incidents about his past came to light. Whether or not they had been known to council members was not revealed. One such incident included a disorderly conduct conviction at a drive-thru restaurant in 2013. Department spokespersons have not said whether or not there is evidence of any drug use from Hughes’ past, nor was his family available for comment.

“This just shows that no one is immune to this epidemic,” said Wright.

Fentanyl is known to be more highly addictive than heroin. According to a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), administrative brief, Fentanyl “Remains the Most significant Synthetic Opioid Threat and Poses the Greatest Threat to the Opioid User Market in the United States.

As this story sadly shows, no one is immune from the effects of the opioid crisis gripping America. A young police chief steals from his own department for a drug which kills him, leaving his grieving family alone and suffering.

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