It's a problem in every community. One that Connie Holmes is familiar with.
"We know that people with addiction struggle, families with addiction struggle right along with the addict and it effects a lot of people in the community," said Holmes.
Holmes is Executive Director of the Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism and Addictions. The organization offered an educational session on drugs that are specifically popular in the Midwest... drugs known as K-2 and spice. Chuck Matson is an Omaha Police veteran and drug recognition expert. He says these substances are more common in the central region.
"If we look at it nationally, we look around the Midwest area particularly in the rural areas, we have the highest prevalence on a per capita basis than any other part of the country. Normally drug trends start on the East or West Coast and work their way inwards. When we are talking about these synthetic drugs, especially the K-2 type drugs, they started here in the Midwest and kind of spread outward," said Matson.
Matson says synthetic drugs are difficult to regulate. As soon as one type becomes illegal, another one pops up in its place.
"It's sort of like a game of Whack-A-Mole, if you will, because our drug laws have to be so specific in naming the specific chemical compound," said Matson.
According to Matson, the availability of legal compounds makes it less difficult to manufacture the substances. Connie Holmes hopes the education will translate into assisting community members with all types of addictions. Matson says education is the best tool in preventing the use of synthetic drugs.