Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel and Little Falls Police Chief Greg Schirmers are warning area residents about the upswing in heroin use across Central Minnesota.
For many people, heroin is something they associate with large cities and sunken eyed bone skinny addicts. And for the most part rural Minnesota has seen little in the way of heroin use. Recently though, both the sheriff and the chief report that their officers are hearing more and more about it in Morrison County. The reasons for it are not certain, but the efforts local officers have put into combating other drugs may be part of it.
Wetzel said officers have put tremendous pressure on meth dealers over the past eight years and saw a marked reduction in the availability of that drug. Next, the illegal sale and use of prescription drugs became prevalent so a coordinated effort between law enforcement and the medical community was launched. That effort has resulted in a system where illegal prescription drug crimes are more difficult to commit. Heroin might be replacing illegal prescription drug use to some degree. In addition, heroin is relatively cheap now with a street price of approximately $70 per gram.
Whatever the cause, heroin is an extremely dangerous drug to use. Overdoses and deaths are common, mainly when a user gets a purer than expected batch, or mixes it with other drugs or alcohol use.
Schirmers said, “Everyone in our community suffers when heroin takes its deadly grip on one of our youth. Most often an addict will do anything to supply their habit. These drug users can get involved with crimes including theft, prostitution, robbery, or become heroin dealers themselves to support their habit as their life spirals out of control.”
Citizens are encouraged to contact the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office at (320) 632-9233 or the Little Falls Police Department (320) 616-5570 if they have any information concerning heroin or other illegal drug use. Callers can remain anonymous.