Heroin making a comeback in local drug market

Heroin making a comeback in local drug market

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"It's starting to come in. Law enforcement is taking note of it and making seizures," said Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi. "It's starting to come in. Law enforcement is taking note of it and making seizures," said Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi.
Two men got in trouble for a similar crime in Louisville in Blount County. Two men got in trouble for a similar crime in Louisville in Blount County.
Earlier in October we reported on a heroin bust at Steeplechase Apartments in Knoxville. Earlier in October we reported on a heroin bust at Steeplechase Apartments in Knoxville.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Local law enforcement agencies in the area say they've seen a resurgence in heroin use in East Tennessee lately. They say it's a side effect of the statewide crackdown on pills.

The Knoxville Police Department, for example, saying drug dealers from the north are offering local pill addicts a deal. They're letting them get their first heroin fix for free, as a way to get them hooked.

Earlier in October we reported on a heroin bust at Steeplechase Apartments in Knoxville. Two men and a woman were arrested for selling heroin.

A week prior, two men got in trouble for a similar crime in Louisville in Blount County.

"It's starting to come in. Law enforcement is taking note of it and making seizures," said Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi.

Akagi spent 25 years as a federal drug agent and has seen this phenomenon before.

Last year, Governor Bill Haslam signed the Prescription Safety Act of 2012. It made it mandatory for doctors to run every pain pill patient through a state database.

"What this did is, it eliminated doctor shopping, to go to 2 or 3 different physicians and request prescription drugs," said Chief Akagi explaining why the cost of pills has gone up in the illegal drug market.

"Right now, pills are roughly a dollar a milligram. So it's quite expensive. And as pills get much harder to get, and more expensive, heroin becomes a cheaper alternative," he said.

But with cops catching on to a spike in heroin sales, expect more arrests.

"We have seen some seizures lately of heroin in this area, and that's new. We haven't seen heroin in a while," Chief Akagi said.

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