Local homeless advocates encouraged by new attention on Alabama’s drug crisis

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)- Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange along with other state leaders and officials from the FBI and DEA met in Montgomery Wednesday morning in an effort to put a stop to the drastic increase in heroin, synthetic marijuana and prescription pill use in our state.

"Alabama is under a crisis when it comes to illegal drug use and prescription drug use," said First Stop Executive Director Clete Wetli.

Health officials are seeing a spike in the number of heroin, prescription pills and synthetic marijuana uses, overdoses and deaths.

"It's a great idea that state officials are taking what really is a drug epidemic in Alabama very seriously.  We lead the nation right now in prescription drug use," said Wetli.

Health officials say this steadily growing epidemic is not likely to end anytime soon.

"What's so special about Alabama? Are doctors here over prescribing those medications?  We've really got to look at why people are being prescribed the medications they're getting and are they being informed of the risks?" said Wetli.

The low prices and availability of the drugs to everyone is something Wetli hopes state leaders can work to end.

"Even with the homeless population... the availability of really cheap drugs has skyrocketed, so even someone who's homeless that doesn't have steady income can pick up drugs on the street for almost next to nothing," said Wetli.

Wetli says these are all issues state officials need to address and he's glad they are beginning to do so.

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