Missouri has always had issues with drug use. For many years the local police dealt with a few various drug problems such as crystal meth, prescription medicine, weed, and lately heroin as well.
To date, heroin has not invaded the whole Southeast area, but the solid signs are present and show that heroin is generating its direction towards the south from Saint Louis.
According to Jane Pfefferkorn, who is an executive director of recovery group Mission Missouri in Sikeston, heroin use is becoming a serious problem in the area and for the past five years the number of deaths caused by drug use in only Scott County has increased by around 500 percent. Furthermore, for the last five years there were around 1,800 people who overdosed on heroine in St. Louis. Now it has become a major issue in the city and law enforcement officers currently have a heroine antidote with them all the time in order to be able to help heroin users.
The other important indicator of heroin problems in the area is heroin arrests. Heroin arrests are still infrequent, but the number of such arrests recently started to increase. Back in May, 2013 two people were arrested for heroin trafficking from Silkeston to Charleston. In November last year Puxico female resident was arrested for heroin possession.
Prescription drug abuse has also increased in the past few years and now has become the major substance abuse problem in Stoddard County. Pfefferkorn mentioned that about 80 percent of heroin addicts have abused prescription medications before.
According to Pfefferkorn often people who abuse prescription drugs start using heroine as a less expensive alternative. A “button” of heroine can be easily bought for just 10 dollars, which is significantly lower than prescription pills retail price.
2001-2011 study by Roosevelt University and the Missouri Recovery Network also suggests that heroin use will increase in countryside areas of Missouri. The Sheriff of Stoddard County Carl Hefner supports the study and states that the number of heroin related arrests will increase over time. Hefner stressed out that many prescription drugs victims will switch to heroin due to high prescription pill prices, which indicates the major heroin problem in the near future.
Heroin is a very dangerous and highly addictive drug and just withdrawals from heroin can kill a heroin user. Thus, an increase in property related crimes is expected. More heroin users mean more crimes in the area.
Pfefferkorn believes that it is important to raise heroin use awareness. Mission Missouri has arranged their very own walk ‘Walking for Wellness’ to increase awareness and understanding of the heroin addiction problem. Walking for Wellness was organized in memory of a heroin overdose victim Nicky Vigna. The walk began in October and since that there were 5 walks.
Pfefferkorn said that heroin is no longer a drug of a certain social class or group. Heroin has become a major issue for any demographics and social groups and for that reason people should be informed about the dangers of this drug.