Police in Eden Prairie are working hard to take steps to battle the heroin use increase and the abuse of prescription drugs that are plaguing inner city areas and now becoming more prevalent in the suburban communities.
It has been noticed that there is a change in the usage of the drugs and in the demographic of users.
At one time, heroin used to be the last drug a person would choose and now it is affecting people in their early 20s, as well as teenagers, according to an Eden Prairie Police Lt.
In recent years, the use of heroin has increased a lot throughout the Twin Cities. Heroin has become more prevalent because it is easy to find, the price of the drug has decreased, and it is possible to get the drug into the body in a number of ways. The methods of administration make it easier to use than some drug types.
In 2013, the Eden Prairie Police Department alone made over 300 arrests for narcotics, which was up from 230 arrests for narcotics in 2012. That was a 34% increase in just 12 months.
As it stands, the individual police departments and agencies are only able to reach heroin dealers in the Twin Cities and users at a small scale level. Eden Prairie is a member of the Southwest Hennepin Drug Task Force, which includes Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and St. Louis Park. All of the police officers are able to pool resources and pursue the middle- to high-level heroin dealers. The agencies work together to share information, enforce drug warrants, and to work on drug cases.
Through this partnership, the task force is able to go where it needs to go to track down even the highest level drug dealers. There have been cases where the drug task force has had to go out of state in order to pursue certain dealers.
But despite their efforts, there continues to be a stream of teens that go into Minneapolis in order to secure the drugs and get a fix. It has been found that they all tend to start their heroin addiction the same way and that is through gateway drugs, such as prescription painkillers.
When the prescription runs out, the users will obtain heroin. Heroin has become known as an “end of the road” drug because of the level of danger that it poses. It is purer than it used to be, which is causing more deaths and overdoses.
Once a person experiences the extreme high that is produced by heroin, as well as its addictive properties, it is a difficult drug to break away from.
It can be difficult for friends, family, and parents to notice heroin addiction at first. Over time, however, there are mood swings and changes in behavior.
The Eden Prairie Police Department has made the fight against heroin one of its top priorities for 2014 to 2015 and they plan to partner with adult education and school districts so they can implement a curriculum that will help remove gateway drugs from home and fight heroin addiction.