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Scott County Prosecutor hopes drug busts will combat HIV outbreak

AUSTIN, Ind. (WISH) — Scott County officials say an undercover operation has put dozens of people in jail this year on drug dealing charges.

County Prosecutor Jason Mount said the investigation started in December 2013 and is not a response the recent HIV crisis in the county.

“The arrests were made prior the HIV announcement and recognition,” Mount said.

However, Mount said taking those dealers off the streets could stop HIV from spreading. His hope is that by cutting off the supply, users will turn away from drugs and seek treatment.

“Those people that are resistant to get treatment, if they find themselves in a situation where they can’t afford, or don’t have access to the controlled substances, I think they’re just much more likely to seek the treatment and go to the outreach center,” Mount said.

Mount and other officials are urging drug users to participate in the needle exchange program, intended to prevent the spread of HIV. Mount said any users should seek help through the Austin Community Outreach Center, and he emphasized that police are not using that center to target criminal activity.