Holt not immune to heroin, prescription drug abuse

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By Stevie Pipis
Holt Journal Staff Reporter

Holt’s low crime rate does not mean there’s no drug abuse.

“We have a fair amount of drug use. More heroin, prescription drugs, and pot than anything else,” said Deputy Cheryl Huhn of the Ingham County Sheriff’s Department.

Heroin and marijuana are more used because they’re cheaper than other drugs at street level.

“Weed is used more than any other illegal drug. Heroin is more common than coke or LSD, but the use of prescription painkillers is more common … the illegal use of prescription drugs contributes to the surge of heroin use” said Kenneth Leonard, the Director of the Research Institute on Addictions at the University of Buffalo.

In January, Holt had one death due to drug abuse and another 10 overdoses, according to Huhn.

A city the size of Buffalo usually sees three deaths a month for heroin use, and another six for other opiate abuse, according to Leonard.

Huhn said occasionally they will see meth or coke, but not often. Heroin is Holt’s bigger problem.

“We see more drug use in the summer. It’s probably the nice weather, people don’t want to leave in the winter,” Huhn said.

Many grow operations get busted in the summer.

“A lot of dealers deal outside when the weather get’s warmer, but the amount of overdoses doesn’t decline in winter,” Leonard said.

Location of Addiction Drug Centers in Lansing, MI

Location of Addiction Drug Centers in Lansing

Police are using new tools to help fight overdoses.

“Officers have started carrying Narcan with them in their cars,” Huhn said.

Narcan is a medical drug that reverses the effects of a drug overdose. It is administered in a nasal spray form, according to Huhn.

“It’s helping. We’ve had three reported saves from using Narcan. Lansing has a similar thing they use,” she said.

The officers started carrying the medicine in December.

“They had to have a training session before they could use it,” Huhn said.

“Narcan really started to be used in the past year,” Leonard said.

The drug has been around for a while, but was primarily used in hospitals.

“It wasn’t as easy to give as it is now, it’s even starting to be sold over-the-counter,” Leonard said.

“In Erie County it was used almost 1,000 times to save people,” he said.

Another way the Ingham County Sheriff’s Department started working against drug abuse was by setting up a task force.

“The team would monitor and track deaths and overdoses in the tri-county area. This would give us statistics that we could use,” Huhn said.

The tri-county area consists of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties.

“Teams like this are becoming more typical. There has been a major increase in heroin deaths. Police and health officials would begin tracking to see characteristics and geological locations. I’d say they’re right on the curve,” Leonard said.

The Sheriff’s Department can only do so much.

“It’d almost be nicer if there were harsher penalties for addicts. Get them treatment instead of jail. But you still have to want to help yourself,” Huhn said.

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