Heroin epidemic reaches small cities in Mississippi and Alabama

"What the rest of the nation has been seeing with an opioid crisis, we are now seeing," Lieutenant Kevin Forrester said.

LOWNDES / PICKENS COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – According to local law enforcement, heroin is finding a place alongside opioids and other drugs along the Mississippi Alabama state line.

“What the rest of the nation has been seeing with an opioid crisis, we are now seeing,” Lieutenant Kevin Forrester said.

The opioid epidemic has been an issue across the United States for years. But, according to Lt. Kevin Forrester with the Lowndes County Narcotics Task Force, it hasn’t been front and center until recently.

“We were seeing a local epidemic of meth, not opioids. And then overnight, you start getting word, you start hearing heroin, heroin, heroin. And then, one day you go to an overdose,” Lt. Forrester said.

And it’s not just in Mississippi. Pickens County Sheriff Todd Hall said he and his team have been seeing a pattern.

“We look at the trend, nationwide trends because no one is immune from the drug crisis in America. Larger cities in the state of Alabama, they’re having problems there. So the overflow is going to come into the rural areas so we have to be prepared,” Sheriff Hall said.

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department had evidence bags filled with used needles and heroin residue. Lowndes County Narcotics agents said that this amount of evidence has become a normal occurrence in Alabama and Mississippi.

“Just this week alone, we worked three overdoses in an hour and a half. That is what is becoming reality for the field of law enforcement and first responders right now,” Lt. Forrester said.

And as overdoses increase, so does the need for narcotics officers’ saving grace – Narcan – the tool that can be a literal life saver in opioid overdose cases. However, Lt. Forrester said it’s getting harder to keep up the supply.

“One overdose, the day before yesterday there were 6 separate doses of Narcan administered to get him back. When this thing all started, it was one dosage unit or one dose of Narcan that was prepackaged for a heroin overdose. That was fine, but now it’s heroin and fentanyl,” Lt. Forrester said.

While it may be difficult, Sheriff Hall said small towns need to work together to get addicts help and turn in suppliers – even if it’s family.

“People have knowledge that will help us combat the drug problems; whether it’s a family member and we know that’s a very sensitive issue. But in the end run, we want to make sure that they don’t die. If families will reach out to us and allow us to get the information and try to prosecute the ones that are responsible, you know, it’s a trail,” Sheriff Hall said.

Both Lowndes and Pickens County Officers are asking the public to please come forward with any information involving heroin use or dealers.

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