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Jackson County deputies believe heroin might be on the rise

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SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT) -- One illegal drug seems to be declining, but another may be on the rise and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office is preparing for that potential increase.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office made an arrest this week that veteran deputies haven't seen in years. "We saw our first heroin since I can remember and actually, I talked with the sheriff, and since he can remember," Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen says.

Chief Deputy Harnen says they arrested a man in Bridgeport  with nearly 25 grams of heroin this week. Deputies say he was from out-of-state.

Deputies worry this could be the beginning of a bigger problem. "Intelligence reports indicate that we're going to start seeing it," Chief Deputy Harnen says, "We've not seen it in Jackson County until just recently."

This is coming as the sheriff's office and other law enforcement agencies seem to be seeing a decrease in local meth in the area. "It does seem to be on the decrease, especially meth labs. We're seeing a lot less meth labs, we're probably down 100 percent since last year," Harnen says, "The thing is, we're still finding meth but it's going to be Mexican-meth brought in from across the border."

Officials say they plan to combat the potential heroin increase in a similar manner as they fight against meth use. The entity is also preparing its deputies. "We're getting our guys trained up on heroin a little bit more because it's not something we've seen in the past, so we're sending them to some classes and gearing them up for the potential for heroin to hit our streets," Harnen says.

Law enforcement officers in the areas surrounding Jackson County say they've also noticed a change.