WARREN (WWJ) - Warren Mayor Jim Fouts says he wants more cops on the street to combat what’s becoming a “heroin epidemic” in the city.
On Wednesday, the mayor announced he is assigning two more undercover police officers to the beat and he hopes neighboring cities will follow suit.
“I felt we needed to send a message to any would-be heroine sales person or addicts that if you come to the city of Warren we’re going to prosecute,” Fouts told WWJ Newsradio 950. “We want 100 percent prosecution and we’re gonna have zero tolerance when it comes to this horrible drug.”
The mayor said in the last two months there has been a rise in the number of phone calls from city residents complaining about heroin trafficking in their neighborhoods.
Fouts said police in Warren have made 54 arrests in the last three months for possession, selling and delivery of heroin. He adds police have documented at least eight deaths in the city due to illegal drug overdoses since September.
The mayor blames the increase, in part, on the fact heroin is a relatively cheap street drug — suddenly a lot cheaper than other drugs like Oxycontin.
“It’s frightening to me that people are either snorting it or they’re putting it in their veins and they’re risking their life for what appears to be the drug of choice today,” said Fouts.
“The victims range in age from 23 to 66 years of age. The police also reported that a 24-year-old man overdosed twice in five days and a 29-year-old woman overdosed twice in nine days. It is my understanding that heroin is a cheaper choice for addicts, as opposed to other narcotic drugs–a tenth of a gram can be purchased for $10,” he said.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, and—particularly in users who inject the drug—infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, and liver or kidney disease.