Officials said the heroin coming into the area is incorrectly cut, proving to be more fatal. (Source: Lauderdale Co. DTF)
FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) -
A "big city" drug has made its way into a small Tennessee Valley town, causing three deaths in the last 10 days.
Thursday, authorities in the Shoals have declared war on heroin, as the Florence police chief and drug task force agents said they want it off their streets and out of town.
Chief Ron Tyler said his department is aggressively pursuing those who are selling drugs, especially those selling heroin, and they won't stop until it is off the streets.
Drug agents said they have seen an increase in the usage of the drug in the last 13 months. In Florence alone, police have responded to four medical calls – all determined to be heroin overdoses. Three of the four victims have died, with a fourth left fighting for his life.
Agents suspect the recent batch of heroin brought to the area is either not being cut sufficiently or the dealer is using some other substance, making the drug even more lethal. Authorities across the Shoals have discussed the signs and symptoms of heroin abuse and its contraband with all their officers.
They ask community members to pay close attention to their loved ones and report any suspected usage to law enforcement. "We're going to pursue those folks who are selling heroin. We've got to put an end to this because it is killing folks," said Chief Tyler. "Heroin in particular, as a drug, is suicidally-appealing. These folks are choosing to shoot themselves up with a substance that's killing them and we've got to put it to a stop."
Agents in Franklin and Colbert Counties also said they are seeing an increase in heroin. Police believe the product may be coming from any of the outlying major cities that are within a day's drive of the Shoals.
They said heroin has no specific demographic. "The addiction to this drug is no respector of economic class or age like you usually see in other drugs," said Lauderdale County Drug Task Force Director Tim Glover.
If you suspect someone is using, you are urged to call and report it to local law enforcement.