Heroin forum: 'Cheap, addicting and deadly'
DUNDEE--More than 100 residents attended the Dundee community forum on heroin held in the high school auditorium Wednesday, Jan. 28. Throughout the evening, several speakers ranging from law enforcement officials to former heroin addicts addressed their experiences with the drug, stating it is already an issue in the community.
Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike said he did not believe a small county like Yates would have a problem with a drug like heroin, indicating his department had to deal more with marijuana and prescription drug issues. However, he said in recent years the drug has become more prevalent due to its cheapness, adding his department has seen six heroin related deaths since 2012 in Yates County.
"I never thought I would have to be talking about heroin in Yates County," Spike said. "We have been dealing with it quite a bit. [...] it is cheap, addicting and deadly."
Spike said Heroin use has increased across the country and is not unique to Dundee or Yates County. He said recent heroin use trends are shifting away from pills and going to "Mexican brown" heroin as the most frequent choice in the county. The sheriff said the substance can be either snorted, smoked or injected, adding as a user's tolerance increases, so does the dosage they need to use to get the same effects.
"Once you commit to trying it by the needle, you stay with the needle," Spike said.
Spike said the price for a "micro-baggie" can be as low as $10, adding part of the reason heroin use is on the rise is due to its low cost. He said heroin addiction generally leads to other crimes, as many have to steal from family members or shoplift to feed their addiction.
"Abuse is up 75 percent over the last three years," Spike said. "It cuts across all lines. I fear it is [an epidemic] in some places."
The crowd heard from one Penn Yan residents who is currently recovering from a heroin addiction. The man said he was introduced to it when he was 18 and began bringing it into the county from Rochester once he was hooked. His trips to Rochester resulted in him being stabbed four times, while he would also steal money from his parents in order to sustain his habit. His mother also spoke about how she tried to handle the situation, threatening to cut him off and kick him out unless he agreed to go to rehab.