Updated: 05/24/2013 10:51 PM KSTP.com By: Todd Wilson
Heroin, better known as smack, horse, brown, black, tar is on the rise in Hennepin County.
The sheriff's department is concerned not just because it's illegal but because: "One, the relatively low cost of it. Two, the purity of it and if there was a third it would be that it's easier to access and use," Sheriff Richard Stanek said.
Stanek says 2009 is the year heroin reclaimed its status as a go to drug. 20-25 years ago users used to inject the drug, but now he says inhaling is the norm.
"We noticed an increasing number of heroin overdoses, whether in the emergency rooms or resulting in deaths."
Stanek says in 2011 Hennepin County had 19 deaths from heroin. In 2012, they nearly doubled and he expects the numbers for this year to be even higher.
Enforcement is one way they've attacked the problem. Stanek says he has five drug task force groups covering from Rogers to Bloomington and Rockford to Minneapolis, plus the 42 other cities in the county.
The second part is stiffer charges for dealers. 32-year-old Devon McFerrin is a case in point. He is wanted for third-degree murder. McFerrin is accused of selling heroin to a man who later died from an overdose. He happens to be on the county's top ten most wanted list.
"We found his DNA on the packaging that the heroin was contained in on the victim after he died," Stanek said.
Stanek says the Twin Cities has some of the highest quality and lowest priced heroin around.
Find more information about Hennepin County's Top Ten Most Wanted and how to submit tips to authorities here.