Nampa Police: heroin-related cases on the rise

Posted at 9:32 PM, Sep 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-20 23:32:38-04

Nampa Police say they're seeing more and more heroin and opioids on the street. The amount of heroin seized by Nampa PD this year has more than tripled compared to 2015.

"What I really think it boils down to is that it's the trendy drug right now," says Sgt. Tim Riha.

Riha says his department is seeing a dramatic rise in opioid and heroin cases in the city.

In 2015 Nampa PD seized a total of 946 grams of heroin. This year, that number is much greater: 2,862 grams of heroin have been confiscated so far.

Police say an increase in opioid prescriptions could be a factor in the rising numbers.

"Instead of them sending you home with some aspirin and saying, yes, a broken leg hurts, now they're sending you home with pain killers,” Riha says. “Some people ultimately get hooked on those pain killers… when you can't find those pills on the street the next thing that's easy to turn to is the illegal opiates such as heroin."

The number of investigated heroin cases has been steadily rising since 2013 when the number jumped from 4 cases to 10 in a year's time. So far in 2016, 25 heroin-related cases have been investigated.

"We haven't changed the way we operate,” Riha says. “We try to buy and seize and get as much of that stuff off the street as we can, but it's not dependent on the type of substance, we're not specifically targeting heroin, that's just what our officers are finding."

With an increase in abuse comes an increase in the likelihood of tragic and fatal overdose.

"Anytime somebody overdoses to the point that it kills them, it’s a tragedy for their family and everybody that's left,” Riha says. “I can remember a case where we came across an individual that, they still had a needle in their arm and had overdosed and died because no one was around to help them.”

Riha says he doesn't believe a shift in this trend is coming any time soon.

"Who knows, the pendulum swings, and in a few years it could be back to marijuana and methamphetamine being our biggest problem, but right now, heroin is definitely on the rise," he says.