Heroin Use Rises With Prescription Drug Abuse

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) –Law enforcement officers have found a new growing problem as they pat down the men and women who will fill their backseats.

Sgt. Jerry King of the Madison/Morgan Co. Drug Task Force says, “We’ve started seeing more of the heroin surfacing locally, so we know that’s a problem that we need to address and need to stay on top of.”

But a growing heroin problem didn’t just show up.  It comes from another issue with far deeper roots in our community.

Over on the medical side of first response, they see the same trends as law enforcement, and they also have a pretty good idea of the root cause.

HEMSI Assistant Medical Director Dr. Eric Greenfield notes, “I probably see a heroin related event every few months.  I see issues with prescription narcotics every day.  Multiple times a day. So 100-to-1?”

Law enforcement have dialed up their efforts to combat prescription abuse.

That’s part of the reason they feel heroin has flowed in – to fill a void for addicts.

Sgt. King explains, “They turn to the easier accessible heroin sometimes. They turn to the cheaper heroin sometimes.  Because the pills themselves, the street value on the pills will steer them towards the heroin.”

So now officers face the war on two fronts — the powder and the pills that poison the bloodstreams of users and our community.

The problem calls for specific solutions.  Police had to come up with a whole new plan for enforcement.

Sgt. King says, “We have agents that are assigned especially to work with the doctors, to work with the pharmacists, to work with the drug companies themselves to combat that, it has to be a joint effort.”

So they fight the battle one bottle at a time.

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