Heroin abuse is on the rise in our area. The McCracken County Sheriff's Department says the number of arrests involving heroin has grown over the past few years.
In 2012, McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden says, detectives saw one or two possession arrests. In 2013, that number grew to almost a dozen, and then to 16 arrests in 2014. In 2015, it was back to about a dozen arrests. That's compared to almost 100 meth arrests in 2015. The number of heroin cases may look small compared to other drugs, but Hayden says that doesn't mean it's not a problem.
Ten bags of heroin sit in the McCracken County Sheriff's Department, all pieces evidence after recent drug arrests.
"Once you get one, you just constantly want the next one," Hayden said.
Ryan Brady, a recovering addict at CenterPoint recovery, says he understands firsthand the trouble people get into to get their next high.
"Anything to get that next feeling. It was all about getting that next feeling," Brady said.
Brady started abusing heroin when he was 19-years-old, after first becoming addicted to prescription drugs.
"You have to have it. There's nothing in your way that could stop you from getting it," Brady said.
Hayden says his office hadn't seen many heroin cases, until it recently became more accessible.
"To say we don't have a heroin problem would not be correct. If we have anyone addicted here, then we have a problem," Hayden said.
The bags of heroin his office collected may look small, but the sheriff says it doesn't take long for that to become a problem in a community.
"Heroin is probably one of the most addictive drugs out there, and it has devastating affects on the people that use it, their families, and communities," Hayden said.
Hayden says it's all hands on deck when investigating heroin cases. Detectives work to stomp the problem out before it gets any worse.
Last week the first person in McCracken County was charged with importing heroin. The charge comes from a law enacted in 2015 to carry harsher penalties for people who bring heroin into the state with intent to distribute. The charge is considered a class C felony and carries a punishment of five to 10 years in prison.
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