Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) – Springfield police say investigators saw a 900 percent increase in the amount of heroin they seized last year.

The department says Wednesday in its annual report that the special investigations unit collected 4,061 grams of heroin in 2016, compared to 397 grams in 2015.

Related story: Missouri Advances Bill Pushing Medical Help for Overdoses

Lt. Eric Reece, who oversees the department’s narcotics investigators, has told The Springfield News-Leader heroin cases are a priority because the drug apparently has been responsible for more than 20 deaths in Greene County in the last two years.

The annual report says Springfield police are trying several strategies to combat heroin use, such as creating a Prescription Pill Diversion officer position.

The amount of meth seized by Springfield investigators dropped from 73 pounds in 2015 to 57 pounds in 2016.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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