Heroin on the rise in Springfield

Law enforcement officials say they are surprised by the increasising popularity of heroin in Springfield, Mo.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- Springfield law enforcement officials say they are alarmed by a spike in the popularity of heroin in the area.

The Springfield News-Leader reports the drug's increasing availability and improving quality appear to be winning over methamphetamine users.

Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper Dan Banasik says some meth users are turning to the drug, as are people hooked on prescription painkillers.

Banasik, assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration's Springfield office, says Mexican drug cartels have been smuggling heroin into the Midwest in ever-increasing quantities.

Drug task force leader George Larby says he remembers when heroin first came into the city but then faded away. He says the recent surge is surprising.