Heroin is making a comeback in Baldwin County. “Heroin is spiking in Baldwin County.”
A recent traffic stop in Gulf Shores found not only the usual drugs but also heroin. These days, according to Sgt. Jason Woodruff, it’s not uncommon. “It was like a once a year kind of find and now it’s a couple of times a month, every other week type deal.”
Heroin use across the country is up according to the Centers for Disease Control and with deadly consequences. The overdose death rate quadrupled in the last ten years and law enforcement in Baldwin County says it’s getting worse.
“We don’t have heroin at the same level as it is throughout the United States but it’s something alarming and is spiking,” says Major Anthony Lowery with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.
Through his work with Drug Court and a local re-hab facility Whitey Whiten sees what heroin can do every day. “We’ve had several people that have had amputations and that type of thing on feet from shooting it between their toes and people losing arms where they get infections and blood clots. It’s really dangerous to do.”
Experts say the increase in heroin use is a result of a crackdown on prescription drugs. According to the CDC almost half of the people who use heroin are also addicted to pills.
“If you take somebody that has been doing prescription drugs and they get on the heroin the next thing you know they are putting needles in their arms,” says Whiting.
Heroin can be found just about anywhere in the county and while officials won’t call it an epidemic yet any heroin, they say, is too much.
Narcotics agents for the sheriff’s office are currently working several cases using confidential informants to find the source of the drug. A lot of it they say is coming in from the I-10 and I-65 drug corridors.