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Heroin use on the rise in eastern Idaho

Heroin use on the rise in eastern Idaho

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Police are worried about a disturbing new trend which has more people switching from prescription drugs to heroin.

David Pinegar, executive director of Renaissance Ranch in Idaho Falls, counsels people battling addictions. In the last year, he said he's seen about 60 people who've been addicted to prescription drugs.

"There are plenty of pills to buy here in Idaho Falls. Plenty of people willing to sell their prescriptions," said Pinegar.

But now Pinegar is worried many of those addicted to pills will soon switch to heroin, a cheap alternative.

"Some people could be burning $300 to $400 a day on Oxycontin -- and heroin, you know, you're looking at a fraction of the cost," said Pinegar.

Idaho State Police say Mexican drug cartels have flooded the market with heroin.

"Our heroin seizures have gone up. Here, just a couple of years ago I think there was, like, 90 pounds that we took off down to the southern end of the state. Huge amounts of heroin," said Lt. Steve Davis, with ISP.

Experts say heroin may prove an even bigger problem than prescription drug addictions.

"With a pill, it's manufactured in a lab. It's consistent," said Pinegar.

But with heroin, Pinegar said the product varies from dealer to dealer.

"They're adding pharmaceutical pieces to the heroin, which makes it 10 times more deadly," Pinegar said.

Heroin can be injected with needles, snorted or even smoked.

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