Heroin Abuse Increases In Gallatin County - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Heroin Abuse Increases In Gallatin County

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BOZEMAN -

In 2008, the Montana State Crime lab in Missoula investigated eight cases involving heroin. In 2012 that number rose to 56 cases.

"The last year we have definitely seen a significant increase in heroin abuse," said Lieutenant Jake Wagner, Missouri River Drug Task Force. 

Commander of the Missouri River Drug Task Force, Jake Wagner said heroin use in Gallatin County is increasing.
 
"We're a few years behind the nation trends. Nationally on the east and west coast we saw this a few years ago and now it's made its way to Bozeman," said Wagner.

In 2009, 2010 and 2011 the Drug Task Force investigated six heroin cases, in all. The Drug Task Force already investigated six heroin cases since June.

"It is directly connected to prescription and pharmaceutical abuse. We are also working on finding directly where the drugs are being distributed. Also, some of the heroin is coming from the Bakken oil fields," said Wagner.

Wagner said there's a large connection between prescription abuse and heroin abuse.

"Since the Federal Government has changed the composition of the pills like oxycodone and hydrocodone can't be melted as easily," said Wagner. "Since they can't be melted, we see people seeking out heroin again because they can draw it into a syringe."

He said for a long time the task force was seeing a lot of methamphetamine cases, but now the drug cases they are seeing involved heroin.

"Every time we take off a dealer of one of the other substances such as cocaine or methamphetamine, we see some other substance take their place," said Wagner.
 
The Missouri River Drug Task Force is working to stop heroin distribution in Gallatin County by focusing on where it is directly coming from.

"We are trying to cut the source," said Wagner. "if we can cut the source out then it directly affects the availability on the street."

Wagner said the drug task force primarily sees heroin coming in from the upper mid-west and the state of Washington.

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