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Heroin Use Climbing In Miss., Mirroring National Trend

By Evelina Burnett | Published 10 Oct 2013 12:00pm | comments
Heroin use is starting to grow in Mississippi. Drug enforcement and treatment officials tell MPB’s Evelina Burnett that it’s a byproduct of the state’s growing prescription drug problem. 
 
The number of heroin arrests in Mississippi is still small, but it’s growing. The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics reports 45 heroin arrests since 2009 – but two-thirds of those arrests were in the past two years. MBN director Marshall Fisher says Mississippi had traditionally seen heroin when it was in transit on interstates. 
 
The growing use of heroin is part of a national trend – heroin use in the U.S. almost doubled between 2007 and 2012. Fisher and others believe it’s a byproduct of the growing abuse of prescription drugs, many of which are also opiods. 
 
A study earlier this year found that four out of five recent heroin users had previously abused prescription drugs. Substance abuse treatment professionals also report a link and an increased number of heroin users. Lisa Crane Kersanac is director of Crossroads Recovery Center in Gulfport. She says they've seen a huge increase in heroin use, particularly IV users. 
 
A study this week found that deaths from drug overdoses, most of which are caused by prescription drugs, have tripled in Mississippi during the past decade. 

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