Addiction Prevention Coalition News

A new twist tonight in the fight against heroin in our communities.

Law enforcement officers warn, the drug is now being disguised as prescription pain pills like Oxycontin or Percocet.

Someone taking these pills might not know what it is, before it is too late.

Right now, we know these pills are in Kentucky, Indiana and Florida. The Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force believes it is only a matter of time before these pills find their way here.

Lt. Clay Hammac, commander of the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force, says this pill form of heroin first surfaced in 2015.

"From this point forward, any narcotics we encounter on the street that are in pill form, we're making a genuine effort to test those thoroughly," Hammac explains.

The heroin pills can be consumed orally, or ground up, melted and injected. Either way, it is deadly.

"In many cases it is pure heroin," said Hammac. "Sometimes it is cut to produce a greater yield with the product called Fentanyl, which can be deadly whenever mixed with heroin."

Why pills?

"It's simply principles of economics. A lot of the suppliers are finding that prescription pill medication, that is opiate based, sells more on the street, than an actual small bag of heroin," Hammac explains.

Shandor Cheka, executive director of the Addiction Prevention Coalition, explains why this form of heroin is so concerning. "It's not just that it's in pill form, but that people don't know how much they're taking. People are used to taking a certain amount of pills, so they take a certain amount of pills, it could be much more potent, which can also be much more deadly," Cheka said.

Lt. Hammac says the best way to fight this new form of heroin, is to remain vigilant. "The greatest partnerships that we have in law enforcement is the relationship with our community," he said.

Hammac also wants to remind people they can properly dispose of their prescription medications by bringing them to a designated drop point at the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. For more information, click here.

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