Heroin use on the rise in Utah
Just three weeks ago, on April 4, the FBI released information regarding a heroin bust that occurred in Salt Lake City. According to the fbi.gov website, “Thirteen arrests were made Wednesday as a part of a federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case targeting the distribution of methamphetamine and heroin in Utah by alleged members of the La Raza gang and their associates. The individuals are charged in two indictments unsealed Wednesday and Thursday with distribution of methamphetamine and heroin; conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin; possession of methamphetamine and heroin with intent to distribute; and money laundering. During the execution of the arrests and searches Wednesday, law enforcement officers seized approximately 10 pounds of methamphetamine and heroin, seven firearms, eight vehicles, and approximately $175,000 in cash.”
This piece of news is shocking for many who believe Utah to be a family friendly, low crime, safe place to live. However, as the local news channel, KSL recently reported, heroin use is on the rise and is finding its way into Utah at an alarming rate. KSL discusses how Utah County, home to BYU, and probably the place most people stereotype as being safe and family friendly, is especially seeing a rise in heroin use. KSL.com reports that, “According to the Utah Department of Health, 446 Utahns — 80 from Utah County — died from heroin use between 2008 and 2012. And if the amount of heroin being taken off the streets is any indication, use may be on the rise. Lt. Phil Murphy of the Orem Department of Public Safety said there are bags and bag full of heroin piled all over the evidence room table, which has been seized by the Utah County Major Crimes task force. Murphy said heroin knows no boundaries. Mothers, fathers, business executives, athletes, scholars and even missionaries have all been caught in its grip. He added that heroin can be so powerful one use can hook even the most disciplined among us. Murphy explained dealers are smuggling heroin any way they can, including inside soles of shoes or car parts. And if smuggling goes undetected by law enforcement, sellers will divvy it up into tiny balloons and distribute the balloons to users for about $15 each.”
Also interesting is the number of heroin related deaths in Utah from 2008-12 by county
- Salt Lake County – 230
- Utah – 80
- Weber – 47
- Davis – 32
- Washington – 14
- Tooele – 11
- Summit – 7
- Cache – 5
Source: State of Utah Department of Health
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