Northshore heroin operation leads to dozens of arrests - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Northshore heroin operation leads to dozens of arrests


With heroin use on the rise at an alarming rate, St. Tammany Parish law enforcement joined forces with the DEA to fight back.

"Since February of this year, we've made 35 arrests of individuals who are either using or trafficking heroin in St. Tammany Parish," said Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith.

The proactive heroin operation is being called an aggressive campaign to attack a serious problem.

"Since Jan. 1, we've had three overdose heroin deaths in the city of Mandeville," said Chief Rick Richard.

In Slidell, four people have died so far this year from a heroin overdose, compared to seven in all of last year.

"More deaths will occur if we do not take these thing seriously," said Sheriff Jack Strain.

"These aren't the hippy kids from the early 70s doing heroin, these are our kids, your kids and your grandkids," Smith said.

Law enforcement wants parents, especially, to know how young people often start using heroin.

"I've been in law enforcement for more than 20 years. I've never interviewed a heroin addict who did not start with prescription drugs," said DEA Special Agent In Charge Keith Brown.

Brown said when prescription drugs become too expensive or unavailable, addicts will turn to heroin.

"A young person who's taking some pills to get high but can't find some tonight will say, 'oh well, I can smoke this or snort this.' It becomes much more attractive," Brown said.

Police say most of the recent heroin investigations started on the southshore, but eventually led to an arrest on the northshore.

They say it isn't just about arresting people. Law enforcement is hoping to also raise awareness about the dangerous drug.

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