CRIME TRACKER: Crackdown On Heroin Use; Kalae Chock Reports

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Drug Enforcement Agency is stepping up efforts to crack down on heroin being smuggled into the United States. The growing trend of opiate use is hitting the entire country, including Spokane.

KHQ reported the significant rise of heroin here in Spokane about a year ago. Spokane Police told KHQ that heroin arrests shot up from about 60 arrests in 2010 to close to a hundred two years later in 2012. The rise of heroin corresponds directly with the rise of prescription drug abuse, which is prevalent in Spokane. Oxycodone and heroin are both opiates, so they have the same effect, but heroin is a lot cheaper.

Now, Attorney General Eric Holder is announcing a crackdown on drug cartels pushing heroin into the United States from Mexico. He says U.S. authorities have increased the amount of heroin seized along the U.S./Mexico border by 320% over the last five years. Just as important as getting the drug off the street, the federal government is seeking help from physicians, teachers police and community leaders in boosting support for substance abuse education, prevention and treatment.

The effort is important for the entire country and Spokane, which has seen the growing trend of opiate use as users continue to rob pharmacies across the Inland Northwest, with several happening already in 2014.

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