Nicholasville rallies against drug dealers

Published 6:18 pm Monday, May 22, 2023

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Nearly a hundred people filled up the southern corner of the Fiesta Mexico parking lot Thursday evening to join a local businessman’s rally against drug dealers.

Jessamine County Sheriff Kevin Grimes, State Senator Donald Douglas, Nicholasville Mayor Alex Carter, Nicholasville Chief of Police Todd Justice, Jessamine County Deputy Coroner Cassie Robinson and Coroner Michael Hughes sat on the evening stage.

Along with the many residents, they attended to support those who have been impacted by fentanyl in what local businessman and event organizer Ron McCauley calls the community’s “war against drug dealers.”

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Multiple tents stood offering materials on rehabilitation services, free Narcan and CPR training.

Among these tents are also local support groups like Drug Awareness and Loss Support (DALS).

Much like within the crowd, these tents are filled with people who have lost a loved one.

Linda Edwards started DALS with her husband, and as she handed out t-shirts to people, she also shared some of her story.

“I lost my son on January 20, 2022. He was the young man at Ollie’s who didn’t make it. His drug dealer was arrested and charged with manslaughter second degree.” Edwards said her son’s dealer had just been released on parole after serving just six months of his three-year sentence.

Four months after his release, Edwards’ son died.

As per Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 439.340, A nonviolent offender convicted of a Class D felony with an aggregate sentence of one (1) to five (5) years who is confined to a state penal institution or county jail shall have his or her case reviewed by the Parole Board after serving fifteen percent or two (2) months of the original sentence, whichever is longer.

“He should have never been out. I don’t know how somebody dying is a nonviolent crime,” Edwards said, calling for further education through her support group for people with substance use addiction and their loved ones. “Some people out here know about fentanyl, but not a lot of them do. So they take what they think is a Xanax, or a Percocet or whatever else, and they die because they took something that they didn’t know they were taking.”

Edwards says her son was given a fake pill, which launched his addiction to the fentanyl substance which is why she was at the rally and why she started the support group with her husband, to be her son’s voice and a voice to all the voiceless.

After McCauley spoke to the crowd to explain his story and his reason for putting this event on, attendees heard a speech from Senator Douglas.

“We are not policing our homes and our neighborhoods as we should. So part of it is on us.” Douglas said about the fentanyl problem, “Fentanyl is a much cheaper, synthetic opiate. That’s why it’s more common. Because it’s cheaper. It is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.”

The senator finished his speech calling for one thing he sees as a transparency solution; an online judicial ruling database.

“To easily access what our judges’ rulings are and what they are doing with our drug dealers. And it must be written in a language that we can all understand,” he said to applause.