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New Metro East Effort to Fight Heroin

Brian Kelly
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O’FALLON, IL (KMOX)-Calling it a “cancer that is spreading around Southern Illinois and in our high schools,” metro east officials have unveiled a new effort to reduce heroin overdose deaths.

With heroin overdose deaths increasing three-fold in some metro east counties in recent years, US Attorney Stephen Wigginton is pulling together local, state and federal resources to fight the problem.

One aspect of the effort will be that they will treat all overdose deaths as possible homicides and the scenes where the bodies are found, as crime scenes, “If you treat it as a crime scene, you will seize the cel phones, you will seize the garbage in the trash can that might haven notes or phone numbers, you will seize the appointment books or ledgers or planners. All that’s critical evidence to determine where that heroin came from”

Wigginton says they will also try more suspects federal court, “The federal statute doesn’t require my office to prove intent. We do not have to show that that drug dealer intended for that drug user to overdose and die.”

Wigginton says heroin doses, called ‘buttons’, can be purchased for as little as $20 and are up to 90% pure. He says that recent overdose deaths have claimed victims ranging in age from 17 to 52 and that use is up across all demographics.

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