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Colorado Springs sees spike in heroin use

Colorado Springs sees spike in heroin use

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs police say teenagers and young adults are the biggest users contributing to the city's spike in heroin use. 

"It's affecting our youth like no other drug has," said Lt. Mark Comte.

Comte said before teens start using heroin, they begin with prescription pills. Comte urges parents to go through their medicine cabinets and get rid of medication they no longer need. 

"When the prescription runs out, the only other drug, the illicit drug, the illegal drug, that mimics the prescription medication is heroin," said Matthew Barden with the Drug Enforcement Administration. 

Dealers find teens that are hooked on opiates and get them to try heroin, Comte said. After just one shot, he said they're addicted. 

For most, the heroin of choice in southern Colorado is black tar heroin. Barden said it's cheap and the least refined type available. 

Barden said, "It'll be a much more intense high that way they then have them hooked and they're a lifetime customer."

According to Colorado Springs police, the number of people arrested on heroin charges in Colorado Springs last year more than doubled from 2009. Also, in 2013, firefighters responded to about 170 cases of heroin overdoses-- that's twice the amount from 2009. 

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