Heroin making a nationwide comeback; more seen locally, too

Published 7:45 pm Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s recent death of an apparent drug overdose in New York City has brought increased attention to heroin, a drug the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office says is making a comeback nationwide.

Hoffman was found dead on his bathroom floor with a needle in his arm, and New York Police Department investigators located heroin in his apartment.

Lt. Brent Goings of the Washington Parish Drug Task Force said heroin has recently started coming back across the state and nation, and that issue was discussed last week during a meeting with the Louisiana State Police.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is also reporting that heroin is on the way back nationwide, Goings said.

While the biggest drug problem in Washington Parish continues to be prescription medication, Goings said an increase in the use and sale of heroin is being seen.

He said the drug has the same effects as opiates such as roxytocin, oxytocin or oxycodone. It can be purchased cheaper than those drugs, however, and it produces a longer lasting high.

Goings said heroin is a very dangerous and dirty drug, and overdoses are often seen among users.

In the mid-1980s, a conviction for the distribution of heroin would result in a life sentence. Goings said the laws on heroin have been relaxed since that time, and that’s something that has led to the drug’s resurgence.

He said the United States tries to keep the drug from crossing its borders, but smugglers have found it is economically a better drug than others to sell. For example, 10 kilos of heroin smuggled in could bring three times the money the same amount of cocaine would bring.

Goings said the local task force is battling heroin with the same techniques as it does with cocaine, pills or any other narcotic.

“We’re going to work heroin just as hard as all the other drugs. Anybody selling heroin, they can expect us to come looking for them,” Chief Deputy Mike Haley added.