The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is ending operation of a special drug-focused unit, calling its structure outdated as the department moves away from focusing on low-level users.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Jenn Hethcoat told the Lawrence Journal-World that the decision to dissolve the unit that works with Lawrence police was finalized in November.

Hethcoat says the office will continue to operate a special investigative unit, but with a focus on crimes related to drug activity, not low-level users who would benefit more directly from behavioral health support than incarceration.

The county’s new sheriff, Jay Armbrister, takes office January 11th.

Hethcoat says Armbrister initiated the operational change that moves away from what Hethcoat called “the failed War on Drugs.”

The change won’t affect the service or protection the county receives from the sheriff’s office, she said.