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SHERIFF'S OFFICE AT 827-3584
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Krista Standeford
September 22, 2009 406-546-4269
Narcotic Pain Killers new drug of choice in Sanders County
Local law enforcement dealing with onslaught of crimes involving
narcotic pain killers.
Sanders County—“Prescription drugs have become the new
methamphetamine in this County as in other Counties across the
Nation.” said Detective Dryden of the Sanders County Sheriff’s
Office. “Prescription narcotic pain killers are fast becoming the
number one form of illegal drug use. “
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration nearly 7
million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, that is more
than the number who are abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens,
ecstasy and inhalants combined. The DEA has also reported that
narcotic painkillers now cause more overdose deaths than cocaine and
“Locally, prescription narcotic painkillers create a unique problem
for law enforcement because they are readily available, not illegal
and necessary to treat health related issues. The problem does not
stem from the doctors, pharmacist or patients that are being legally
treated. The problem comes from the ease of access and the street
demand for an easier, less traceable way to obtain and abuse drugs.
Unlike meth there is no cooking time, no red flags being raised by
the purchase of ingredients or chemical smells. Narcotic pain
killers are in medicine cabinets across Sanders County and provide
easy access for opportunists. “From seemly helpful kids next door to
caregivers in need of cash, we have found no respect to age or
position in regard to the stealing and selling of narcotic
painkillers.” stated Detective Dryden.
In recent months the Sanders County Sheriff’s Office has seized
narcotic pain killers on a number of cases, putting a small dent in
the illegal drug industry in the County. Arrests have also been made
in connection with the illegal distribution of prescription drugs,
which can carry a possible felony charge.
Being a part of the Northwest Drug Task Force has allowed Sanders
County greater flexibility and coordination of resources from within
and beyond the borders of Sanders County. Recently, Northwest Drug
Task Force Officers arrested Robert and Samantha Cottingham, of
Plains, after the couple allegedly sold prescription drugs to an
In early August, officers received intelligence that an individual
known as “Bob” from Plains, was selling a large amount of pills both
in Plains and in the Kalispell area. Officers began an investigation
and later introduced an undercover officer into the situation. “Bob”
was identified as Robert Cottingham.
On August 24th about 8 o’clock pm, Robert and Samantha Cottingham
met with an undercover officer in the Kalispell area at a
prearranged location. Upon meeting the officer, Cottingham’s sold
the officer eighty 40mg Oxycodone pills for 2000.00 dollars. The
Cottinghams were arrested shortly after the sale was completed.
When asked what could be done to help our local situation, Dryden
stated, “be aware, of any narcotic pain killers in your home, know
how many you have and who has access to them. If you suspect someone
may be taking your prescription pain killers, other drugs or someone
else’s (narcotic pain killers) please call the Sheriff’s Office at
827-3584. We have also been working with local Doctors, Pharmacists,
Schools and the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) to help raise
awareness of the issue. Sanders County is a community of good
people, our goal at the Sheriff’s Office is provide a safe, drug
free community. Working together, we can do just that. “
*Sheriff Office Goals
County Fair Press Release
*Question & Poll
After you review the information I have provided, you will know more about the office, have a clearer understanding of our priorities,
and the approach to law enforcement in Sanders County,