Poplar Bluff police see more heroin deaths than gun deaths - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Poplar Bluff police see more heroin deaths than gun deaths

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)
POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) -

Police in Poplar Bluff, Missouri are seeing a frightening trend that is also impacting communities across the country.

Last year, the number of heroin deaths topped the number of gun deaths.

"I can't say that I'm totally surprised, but with the veracity that has came here, that may have shocked me a little bit.," Poplar Bluff Police Chief Danny Whiteley said.

Whiteley said heroin entered into his community and has taken over as the number one drug problem they face.

"I think cost may have generated the initial start on it, but addition solidified it," he said.

No matter how heroin got its start, federal research shows it's looks like it's here to stay.

The Centers for Disease Control found in 2015 heroin deaths surpassed the number of gun homicides.

"Heroin because of its potency is probably 10 times," he said. "Maybe even more than that, more addictive than the pills."

"This is an epidemic that can touch anyone, " President Obama said in a press conference. "Blue collar white collar...it could not be clearer that those of us called upon to lead this country have a duty on their behalf..."

On Tuesday, President Obama and Vice president Biden signed the 21st Century Cures Act which will invest one billion dollars to combat heroin and opioid addictions.

"God willing, this bill will literally save lives," Vice-President Biden said. "But most of all, what it does, just this mere signing today, gives millions of Americans hope."

Chief Whiteley said he's happy to see this epidemic finally getting the attention it deserves.

"Admitting that you have a problem and figuring out a solution is hard to do sometimes," Whiteley said "The admitting part is harder than the solution, but they have to do that. And it seems like the federal government recognize that and it seems like they're trying to do something now for the victims and law enforcement."

If you or if you know someone living in Poplar Bluff and are dealing with heroin addiction, the chief said you can come get help at his department as a first step toward recovery.

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