Franklin County Sheriff, inmates raise awareness on meth problem in region

Meth is a big problem for rural communites...a problem so big that today (11/30) is recognized as National Meth Awareness Day.
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 7:29 PM CST
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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Meth is a big problem for some rural communities, especially in Franklin County.

“Every day is Meth Awareness Day,” Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith said.

However, he warned others about it at a roundtable on National Meth Awareness Day, Nov. 30.

“If we catch you with drugs, you’re going to be arrested,” Smith said. “We’ll throw you in jail.”

That’s a hard lesson two former meth addicts are living with every day behind bars.

“A friend had some and he was in the van with us and he offered it to me to kind of wake up to get ready for work,” Franklin County Jail inmate Bailey Millender said. “That’s kind of how I started using it.”

His addiction worsened.

“In 2017 I got introduced to the needle and I started using the needle,” Bailey Millender said. “That’s an addiction of its own.”

The same goes for his cousin Jonathan Millender.

“I talked to a guy and he said I could get off of pain pills,” he said. “The VA had me on so many pain pills. Well, he said I could use meth.”

Their stories are part of a larger picture in Franklin County.

Smith said a majority of the inmates in the County Jail are there because of drug-related crimes.

“They’ve committed a crime to get drugs, or they sold drugs or used drugs,” said Sheriff Smith.

Smith also said he enforces a strict zero-tolerance policy. However, FCSO officials said there are resources available.

“All they have to do is walk in the door,” Smith said. “Call on the telephone. The good thing is people are learning we have those resources here. It’s free. It doesn’t cost anybody anything.”

Bailey and Jonathan Millender are expected to be released from jail in 2023.

You can contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at 850-670-8500 or go to it at 270-SR-65, Eastpoint, FL, 32328.

Its website is here.