Michael Calhoun

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — St. Louis County police have released alarming new numbers concerning the death toll from heroin use in 2011.

County police chief Tim Fitch says overall there were 90 deaths last year that were attributable to heroin, nearly doubling the previous year’s figure of 50.

But Chief Fitch says there was also an unusual phenomenon that turned up when they started taking a closer look at the numbers.

“They (heroin-related deaths) started slowing down somewhat around April through the summertime,” he tells KMOX News. “I don’t know exactly why that may be. Some would speculate it’s because of the education.”

Fitch adds without that slowdown, the heroin death toll could have gone as high as 120.

But with the idea that even one death is one too many, he says that they’re ramping up public education efforts once again.

The next Heroin Town Hall’ meeting is set for March 15th, 7 p.m. at Webster Groves High School.

Future events will be held at Chaminade High School, St. Charles County and in the Metro East.

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