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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.