If 2013 is anything like the past few years, law enforcement agencies will spend most of their time fighting drug-related crimes.
More and more, theft, assault, and sometimes even murder can be tied to directly to the use or sale of narcotics.
Athens and McMinn county are much like other small communities in the south. Not a great deal of crime..but more and more finding that drugs are tied to almost every criminal act.
CHIEF CHUCK ZIEGLER, ATHENS POLICE "Very very seldom will we ever arrest anyone for any crime that drugs and or alcohol are not a contributing factor to that need to violate the law to get what they need in the way of money or whatever."
Chief Chuck Ziegler tracks the numbers going back 10 years and he has seen the hard drugs like meth and crack cocaine give way to prescription drugs. And they are hard to stop.
CHIEF "CHUCK" ZIEGLER, ATHENS CHIEF ZIEGLER "When we find someone who we believe is selling hydrocodone, but they have a prescription bottle ..Then its very very difficult to charge them and almost impossible to get them convicted ."
Hydrocodone can go as high as 50-dollars pill.
McMinn county Sheriff Joe Guy says his officers are also seeing more prescriptions drug cases, and still some meth labs.
But despite that he says overall, crime is down in the county.
SHERIFF JOE GUY, MCMINN "Overall all, in the past two years, its about a 30% decrease, 28 to 30 percent...we're pretty excited about that . We don't expect that to keep going down ..There's always going to be some crime..but to see that kind of a shift in the last couple of years gives us something to be hopeful for."
Sheriff Guy says he is encouraged by information from an always reliable source.
SHERIFF GUY "Word on the street, when we gather intelligence from our inmates..they tell us that the word on the street is that you don't want to make meth in McMinn county anymore."
As 2013 begins, both officers are laying their plans to deal with whatever criminal challenges may arise.
Sheriff Guy and Chief Ziegler are waiting for the 2012 crime figures from the TBI and FBI.
Both say the prescription drug crimes are likely to be a big factor again this year.