County Joins New Heroin Initiative

 

Ed Pruneau reports for The Missourian, a Franklin County based publication, about the great news for a new movement against heroin and drug overdoses in four surrounding counties.

 Drug overdose deaths in this area will be actively investigated as homicide cases under a new initiative adopted in four eastern Missouri counties.

Franklin, Lincoln, St. Charles and St. Louis counties are part of the initiative that was the outgrowth from a recent St. Louis regional heroin summit.

“We’re putting together a response team that everyone can draw on for manpower in investigating these cases,” Reed said. “Now we’ll be able to draw on resources from all those counties.”

In that sense, the initiative will be similar to the way the St. Louis Major Case Squad operates in investigating murder cases, he said.

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And they won’t just be limited to cases involving heroin but also will investigate deaths from prescription medication overdoses, Reed said.

“As far as I’m concerned they’re all the same, whether it’s heroin or a synthetic equivalent,” he explained.

Once a death is confirmed, investigators will aggressively trace the source of the drug and the seller, who then would face homicide charges.

The new group wants to approach all overdose deaths as criminal investigations, not simply medical cases, Reed noted.

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The initiative also will focus on education, including community meetings, not just enforcement, he said.

Investigators suspect that the heroin in all four of those cases was laced with Fentanyl, a synthetic morphine compound that is extremely potent and which can cause death if the dose is too large.

The regional initiative is being funded through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force of the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Read more here.

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