COLUMBIANA COUNTY, Ohio (WKBN) – Just weeks into his new job as Columbiana County sheriff, Brian McLaughlin is cracking down on drugs.

Sheriff McLaughlin was sworn in on January 4, and a couple weeks ago, the drug force task had three raids in one week.

The issue of drugs is a priority to McLaughlin, and he’s wasting no time tackling it.

“Don’t just think of it as the user or the dealer, but it also stems further than that,” McLaughlin said.

He continued to explain that drugs aren’t cheap, and often, users will commit other crimes to get money to pay for their habit.

“I actually started with the Sheriff’s Office in 1990, and in 2001, I was promoted to sergeant and took over as the director of the Columbiana County Drug Task Force,” McLaughlin said.

He did that for six years, then became lieutenant of the patrol division, and then went back to the task force in December 2012 as the director. He remained there until he ran for sheriff.

“The people that we were getting the calls on, day in and day out, frequently you come to find out that you were just getting the tip of that iceberg, and you’re realizing there was a lot more going on there. Maybe that domestic happened because there was an argument over the drugs that were being sold and there was some missing,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin also makes it a priority to work with other organizations in the county to help those struggling to get the help they need.

“Just give people a better life and get away from that and be able to spend their money on things they should, like food and their kids,” McLaughlin said.

There are five people who are part of the task force. At its peak, there were 13. As time goes on, McLaughlin hopes it continues to build.

“We’ve got a new director there. He’s young and energetic. He’ll do a fantastic job with things. I know he will, and he’s already proven that to me by the activity that’s gone through,” McLaughlin said.