Springfield PD targets heroin users
SPRINGFIELD (AP) Heroin is a growing problem in southwest Missouri, and police in Springfield are targeting dealers as a way of combating the problem.
Sgt. Justin Gargus of the special investigation unit of Springfield Police told the Springfield News-Leader that as recently as 2011, investigators seized 13 grams of heroin for the entire year. In 2014, 243 grams were seized.
The unit has responded to more than 100 incidents involving heroin in 2014, up from 34 in 2011.
Springfield police are seeking out dealers. Gargus said that when possible, authorities are seeking prosecution at the federal level.
As for users, Gargus said police are working to start a program putting first-time users in rehabilitation programs rather than jail. Staffing shortages have delayed implementation of that program.