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Heroin use increasing

The Feb. 27 drug roundup conducted by Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal and his deputies highlights a growing heroin problem in Washington Parish.

Previous drug arrests have been mostly for cocaine and prescription pill sales. Heroin has not been an issue. Half of the latest round of warrants and arrests were for the sale of heroin.

Seal emphasizes that heroin is a very dangerous drug that is making a strong comeback in Washington and St. Tammany parishes. Although statistics are not available for Washington Parish, the Associated Press reported that 2014 heroin arrests in St. Tammany tripled the total for 2012 and 2013. Similar increases are being experienced in Washington Parish.

“Heroin is a very dangerous drug,” said Seal. “The initial rush felt by a heroin user is soon replaced by clouded mental functioning, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, hypothermia and coma or death in the event of an overdose.”

Research has shown that continued use of heroin is very destructive, including collapsed veins, infection of blood vessels and heart valves, tuberculosis and arthritis. Other long-term effects include bad teeth, inflammation of the gums, constipation, cold sweats, weakening of the immune system and respiratory illnesses. Other physical problems include loss of memory and intellectual performance and depression.

Pete, a heroin abuser, said, “People believe that heroin is super, but you lose everything — job, parents, friends, confidence, your home. Lying and stealing become a habit. You no longer respect anyone or anything.”

According to the Sheriff’s Office, drug dealers will tell you anything to get you hooked. Two common lies are that the drug will make you cool or it will help you fit in. They will tell you anything to get you hooked so they can continue to sell you more heroin.

“Their motivation is profit,” Seal stated. “They could care less if you live or die, just so you help them make money.”

“Always remember,” said the Sheriff, “heroin is highly addictive and very destructive. It will destroy your immune system, leave you thin and bony and, eventually, dead.”

The lieutenant who commands the Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force said, “The Drug Task Force is working daily throughout the parish to identify drug dealers, make buys off of them and gather enough evidence to obtain a warrant for their arrest. Heroin is coming back stronger than ever before. New Orleans is the source of heroin coming to our parish, and we have already had several overdoses. I expect to see more overdoses and likely some deaths.”

Seal gave a stern warning to drug dealers.

“Our deputies say they have been told in the past to slow down on arrests during an election year. Don’t think for a minute that we will slow down on pursuing you just because this is an election year. We will continue to seek out drug dealers, thieves, deadbeat parents and any other type of criminal. I’ve said it before, and I am saying it again. You had better be looking over your shoulder because those footsteps you hear behind you are ours, and we will arrest you and put you in jail where you belong. I’ve told our officers to enforce the law, and I will stand behind them no matter who the criminal might be.”