With increased regulations on the use and purchase of prescription medications, a new drug is on the rise in Grayson County: heroin.
Local law enforcement has, over the past year, received more and more reports of the use and sale of heroin in Grayson County.
Leitchfield Police Department (LPD) Patrolman Jesse Townsend said his agency was first notified around seven months ago that the drug had started coming into the community.
LPD Detective Kevin Smith said law enforcement first started seeing heroin in bigger cities in northern Kentucky, such as Louisville, before it started trickling down to smaller areas.
“Up until two years ago, I had never made a heroin arrest,” Smith said.
Townsend said this trickle-down effect can partially be attributed to Grayson County’s location off the Western Kentucky Parkway.
Grayson County serves as a stopping area for many travellers, and local police have reported stopping more and more drivers for impaired driving as a result of drug use, according to Townsend.
“Drug charges alone are at an all-time high,” Townsend said.
A derivative of morphine, heroin is also significantly more potent and inexpensive than morphine, which is another reason for its becoming more prevalent recently, according to Grayson County Sheriff Norman Chaffins.
Chaffins said the street value for one morphine pill is about $80; while, the street value for one-tenth of a gram of heroin, or one “hit,” is about $40.
Heroin is also highly addictive. Chaffins said he has never seen someone addicted to heroin stop using it without help.
“It’s the most deadly drug I know,” Chaffins said. “…[Individuals addicted to heroin] either die or get help.”
The preferred method for heroin use is by needle injection, which also increases the risk of spreading diseases through needle-sharing, according to Chaffins.
Anyone who comes into contact with a used needle is asked to contact law enforcement immediately for proper disposal.
“Over the last year and a half, we’ve been finding more used needles in places where they shouldn’t be,” Smith said.
According to Chaffins, the majority of the heroin that has made its way to Grayson County has been smuggled in from Mexican drug cartels or overseas from Afghanistan. Generally, the drug is not made locally.
Chaffins said that inmates and heroin addicts have told him that the current rise of heroin sales and use is “just the beginning,” if it is not contained.
“If you’re concerned about the issue of heroin in this community and have information that can lead to an arrest, we’d like to have that,” Chaffins said.
While every tip may not be enough to lead to an immediate arrest or drug raid, “Every time we get a tip or complaint, we pass it along to the [Greater Hardin County Narcotics] Task Force,” Chaffins said.
To contact the LPD with a tip, call 270-259-3850. To contact the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office with a tip, call 270-259-3024. Those who submit tips may remain anonymous.
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.