Columbia fights backs against heroin

Authorities in Columbia are seeing a lot of it.

"We just have not seen the amount of heroin cases that we are seeing now,â?? said Assistant Boone County Prosecutor Stephanie Morrell. â??Whether from a law enforcement perspective, or even a community perspective; for overdoses, and use and abuse, and even distribution.â??

Columbia Police Narcotics Detective Jeff Rukstad says heroin is a deadly problem that does not discriminate.

"Honestly, we've seen overdoses from as young as 16 up to 65, and really every age in between, every race, economic status."

Police say heroin abuse usually begins with abusing prescription drugs, and spirals out of control from there.

"It's actually harder to get prescription pills now; to go from a doctor and things like that. Heroin's much easier to get, it's a more intense high for these people," said Rukstad.

A six month spike of heroin has Columbia police calling an emergency town hall meeting.

Police say that the meeting at the Boone County Health on Thursday will allow Columbians to ask about and learn about the signs of heroin use."

"You know, I think a lot of it's going to be, from the parents and younger kids: what to look for in their children, the changes in behavior. We also expect that if they have a loved one who is using heroin, where can they go to get help," said Rukstad.

"Our hope really is, especially on the abuse [and] use side, is prevention, treatment. We don't want to see these people in the criminal justice system, we do want people to be aware and seek that help," said Morrell.

Because, as authorities say, the last place you want to see a loved one is behind bars, or worse.