published Monday, July 8th, 2013

Heroin makes a comeback in Tennessee as pill costs rise

Police are noticing a resurgence of heroin in Nashville and across the country as an unintended consequence of the war on prescription drugs. Nashville Metro Police Sgt. Gene Davis, left, and his undercover narcotics team have seized around 982 grams of heroin at a street cost of $200,000. Metro Police Lt. Shawn Parris, right, stands next to the heroin that was seized by undercover officers at the Metro Police East Precinct property room on Monday, June 10, 2013, in Nashville.
Police are noticing a resurgence of heroin in Nashville and across the country as an unintended consequence of the war on prescription drugs. Nashville Metro Police Sgt. Gene Davis, left, and his undercover narcotics team have seized around 982 grams of heroin at a street cost of $200,000. Metro Police Lt. Shawn Parris, right, stands next to the heroin that was seized by undercover officers at the Metro Police East Precinct property room on Monday, June 10, 2013, in Nashville.
Photo by The Tennessean /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

ER visits

National estimated annual emergency room visits involving heroin.

2004 214,432

2005 187,493

2006 189,787

2007 188,162

2008 200,666

2009 213,118

2010 224,706

2011 258,482

Source: Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

It was only a few years ago that narcotics detectives in Tennessee started running into something they thought was new. It was usually brown, either in a powder or tar form. And addicts were itching for it.

Today, they know better. Today, they know that heroin, once thought to be a drug from a different era, is back.

"It disappeared for years. You could count on one hand the number of heroin cases you saw, probably in a 15-year period," Davidson County District Attorney Torry Johnson said. "For a time, I think you had some vice officers who didn't know what it is.

Read more at The Tennessean.

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