Heroin use on the rise in Florence County

Source: FCSO
Source: FCSO

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - This year, heroin overdoses killed two people in Florence County.

Use of the drug is on the rise, and law enforcement is on a mission to bring it to an end.

The Florence County Sheriff's Office said the heroin that is making its way to Florence County, is mainly manufactured and smuggled into the U.S. from places like Asia and Afghanistan.

"The use of heroin is really on the rise, and it's destroying peoples' lives," said Captain Michael Nunn, spokesperson for the Florence County Sheriff's Office.

Nunn said since 2011, the Florence County Sheriff's Office has seen more and more arrests related to heroin abuse.

From August to December of 2011, the department handled one heroin case.

In 2012, that number jumped to 11, and last year it rose to 18 cases.

In the first five months of 2014, FCSO has had 11 confirmed heroin cases.

The sheriff's office and drug rehab experts said people are turning to the drug, because opiate addiction is on the rise and right now, street heroin is cheaper than any other opiates.

"Hydro code, oxycodone, morphine are legitimate medication prescribed by physicians for medical real medical problems," said Nunn.

Long term use of opiates can cause dependence, and when the prescription runs out the cheapest quick fix is heroin.

"Street heroin scratches the same neurological itch as these prescription medications," said Nunn.

Captain Nunn said heroin addicts can become dangerous if they can't get that fix.

"We believe the majority of our property crime is related in some way to drug abuse, and heroin would certainly play a part in that as well," said Nunn.

To put a cap on those crimes and the influx of heroin that is hitting the streets, officials said its narcotics division is putting a concentrated effort on stopping heroin use.

You can help also.

"We welcome citizen input on information regarding any drug activity in the county and we will follow up on that, but from a personal stand point, if someone knows someone who is addicted to heroin or the pill form, have them get professional help," said Nunn. "Chances are they're not going get over this on their own," he added.

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