(Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat) / (http://www.bnd.com)

Federal prosecutors say a southwestern Illinois man who admitted to trafficking heroin supplied the narcotic almost daily to a former judge now facing drug and weapons charges.

Thirty-four-year-old Sean McGilvery of Belleville pleaded guilty to heroin conspiracy and possession Thursday in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.
 Prosecutors say Michael Cook was a St. Clair County circuit judge when he got heroin from McGilvery "on an almost daily basis."

(via Flickr/Michael Velardo)

The number of heroin deaths in St. Louis County has decreased in recent months when compared to recent years, however, use of and addiction to the drug in the St. Louis area has grown to epidemic proportions.

Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio

For the past year, St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch and community organizations have held nearly two dozen town hall meetings to raise awareness of the heroin epidemic. Deaths from heroin overdoses continue to decline, but officials say they are seeing an uptick in some age groups.

Through September of this year there have been 45 heroin deaths in St. Louis County, that’s compared to 55 last year.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie Bierach sat down with Chief Fitch to talk about their efforts to go after heroin suppliers.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Building in Midtown fire up to code, fire chief says

City fire officials say a Tuesday night blaze that left an apartment building near Saint Louis University completely uninhabitable does not appear to be suspicious.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Quinn to announce plan to address Illinois' drought

Gov. Pat Quinn plans  a visit to a southern Illinois farm today. The Illinois Farm Bureau says that so far, it's the sixth driest year on record. The average precipitation of the first half of the year was 12.6 inches. Much of Illinois' corn and soybean crop is suffering. Farm officials say southern Illinois is experiencing the worst of it.  Quinn is expected to detail whatever government relief may be available to drought-affected growers and ranchers.

(via Flickr/Michael Velardo)

St. Louis County officials believe a strong public awareness campaign about the dangers of heroin use are having an impact.

The county has reported 14 deaths from heroin through April 10, down from 32 over the same period last year - a drop of more than 50 percent.

(via Flickr/Ctd 2005)

A bill designed to crack down on the theft of scrap metal in St. Louis city finally cleared its first legislative hurdle on Tuesday.

The legislation's been languishing in the city's Public Safety committee since June as Ald. Donna Baringer and scrap metal companies in the city worked out a dispute over payment methods.

(via Flickr/Michael Velardo)

The Drug Enforcement Administration and about two dozen St. Louis-area police agencies are arresting more than 100 traffickers in a heroin roundup.

The arrests began Tuesday morning. By midday, nearly 50 traffickers were in custody. The DEA's St. Louis agent in charge, Harry Sommers, told The Associated Press that all told, 104 traffickers were expected to be arrested.

Sommers says the goal is to put a dent in the local heroin market and send a message to users, dealers and traffickers that police are out to get them.

(via Flickr/CrashTestAddict)

Town Hall tonight on heroin epidemic

Tonight, law enforcement, social workers and drug counselors will hold a third Town Hall meeting on the epidemic of heroin and prescription pain killer use among teens in St. Louis County. Speakers will be on hand to talk about police enforcement strategies and signs of heroin addiction.

(via Flickr/Michael Velardo)

In the 1970s it killed Janis Joplin. In the 1980s it killed John Belushi. In the 1990s it killed actor River Phoenix. And now a very potent form is killing young people in suburban St. Louis. It is heroin and it’s an epidemic according to St. Louis area officials.

As St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie Bierach reports, parents, police and addiction specialists are desperately trying to get a handle on the problem.

Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio

The use of heroin in the St. Louis area is at epidemic levels, according to law enforcement officials.

The number of heroin overdoses and deaths has doubled in the St. Louis County and city over the past four years. St. Louis County Chief of Police Tim Fitch said the drug is cheaper now and it can be snorted or smoked, instead of injected. He said it's no longer just an urban issue.