Heroin use is a growing concern for local law enforcement. Detective Dave Combs with the Knox Police Department says it first showed up in Starke County a few years ago and quickly grew in popularity. He says it typically comes into the area from the south side of Chicago and South Bend. The drug is derived from the opium plant and is imported from Mexico. Combs adds users can buy a folded foil packet of heroin for about $20 and get high.
Heroin is usually a white or brown powder but can also be a black, sticky substance. Combs says heroin users typically keep a kit together containing everything they need to get high. Heroin can be snorted but is typically injected.
Combs says local authorities have been finding a lot of discarded syringes lately. Another indicator of heroin use is a spoon with burn residue in the middle from heating the heroin to liquefy it prior to injection. He says finding such items are a sign someone is using and needs help.
Research suggests prescription pain killer abuse can be a gateway to heroin use. Medications like Vicodin and Oxycontin are also opioids. Law enforcement officials say many users turn to heroin when they can no longer obtain prescription medications