Superior Police concerned with spike in heroin use

By KBJR News 1

November 12, 2013 Updated Nov 12, 2013 at 1:49 PM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com) --- The rise in heroin use in the Northland is being called an epidemic.

Authorities say the drug comes from Chicago and Detroit, into our backyard.

Duluth Police have held meetings to discuss the increased use, but the problem is just as widespread across the bridge in Superior.

It's a frightening trend.

"We've confiscated more heroin this year than we have in the last ten years put together," said superior Police Chief Charles Lagesse.

Heroin use in Superior is at an all-time high. Police Chief Charles Lagesse says there have been four heroin related overdose deaths since January. Users are typically young people from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Experts say heroin is so addictive that people try it once and are hooked...often turning to a life of crime to get their fix.

"gas station robberies, personal strong arm robberies, copper thefts, burglaries, anything they can do to get their money to buy their drugs," said Narcotics Investigator Paul Winterscheidt.

The prevalence of heroin puts both the public and law enforcement officers at risk. One gram of heroin can sell for nearly 300 dollars in the Northland, drawing drug dealers from bigger cities... who will stop at nothing to sell their product and protect their business.

"There's more guns out there- those that are dealing with heroin are possessing something that may be stolen from them, their protecting themselves from rip-offs from other dealers, from being ripped off by buyers and they may possess weapons to deal with police if they encounter unexpectedly," said Lagesse.

It's frightening but law enforcement isn't backing down...They're cracking down... seizing more than 300 grams of the heroin this year.

"Many of the heroin cases are felonies whether it's simple possession, or possession with intent to deliver, or actual delivery," said Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank,.

"We are trying to make it as difficult as possible for drug dealers to do their job. We're trying to push it underground because if we don't we're going to end up like Chicago and have drug dealing on the street and all the crime that goes with it," said Winterscheidt.

Law enforcement are doing everything they can to let the community know that heroin abuse and dealing will not be tolerated.

""We're going try to send a clear message that we don't want heroin in the streets in Superior, Douglas County, Duluth, St Louis County and some people are at great risk of getting prison recommendations," said Blank.

The Superior Police Department has teamed up with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office for a new Narcotics unit aimed at striking back against drug use.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@kbjr.com