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Prevalence of heroin and violence rising in Kansas City, warns DEA

Published On: 04-14-2016 in Category: heroin, opioid, prescription opiates


Kansas City is suffering from the growing heroin abuse problem that is also making residents more violent. According to the local unit of Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the city witnessed a 20 percent rise in heroin usage in 2015 as compared to the previous year which dramatically increased violence rate among the abusers. However, experts are of the opinion that though heroin is the trigger, it is actually the growing abuse of prescription opiates that is the root cause of the problem.

DEA special agent Troy Derby said that the disturbing trend in Kansas City was spreading across the metro, causing a major concern. St. Louis is another city to report an increased rate of violence alongside the rise of heroin epidemic.

Abuse of prescription opiates on the rise

The DEA officials are seeing a rising abuse of opioid OxyContin or oxycodone in Kansas. People suffering from pain or allied ailments are prescribed opiates. However, Derby highlighted that people get addicted just after consuming one or two tablets. Once the stock runs out, they are forced to obtain OxyContin from streets. But due to lack of money, they get into crimes or other unlawful activities to obtain some finances for the drug. Since the drug is not common on the streets, people tend to move towards heroin to get the same euphoric high. Moreover, heroin is much cheaper.

James Shroba, special agent in charge of the St. Louis DEA, said that they noticed such symptoms in St. Louis in 2007 when there was a rise of heroin into tour communities. He added that since then, crimes and homicides have risen to a considerable extent in St. Louis. In fact, the rising demand has greatly added to the inflow of heroin into the city.

Steps to be taken

Megan McKamy, a substance abuse counselor at First Call, an NGO in Kansas City, was also a victim of substance abuse. Her experience has made her understand that prescription opiates are as deadly and addictive as illegal heroin. She said that heroin is prevalent in Kansas City and someone who has got addicted to prescription opiates gets dependent on heroin use due to easy availability and producing the same feeling as opiates.

McKamy is of the opinion that a safe disposal of unused or expired drugs should be made mandatory. Now, more and more doctors are educating themselves to understand the excess prescription of opiates.

Derby said, “If we can remove the opiates from the medicine cabinets and prevent some young person from trying an opiate product, we might save them from becoming addicted … which could lead to heroin use.”

On April 30, 2016, the DEA will hold a four-hour drive, starting 10 a.m., across the city to encourage people safely dispose of their medicines, whether unused or expired. It will set up collection centers where these medications can be dumped.

Way forward

Such initiatives are necessary to curb the rising abuse of prescription opiates and heroin. Addiction posing a serious threat – mentally, physically and socially – it is also time to seek a proper treatment for addiction.

If you or your loved one is addicted to drugs, you may contact the Kansas City Drug Treatment and Rehab Center to learn more about curative interventions. You can call at 816-399-2323 or chat online with our representatives regarding any queries on drug addiction treatments and they will help you on your road to recovery.

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