Heroin in disguise: The new threat hitting the streets

Heroin in disguise: The new threat hitting the streets

CLARK COUNTY, IN (WAVE) – A new trend is leading down a dangerous path. People think they are buying prescription pills to get high, but they are given something even more addictive.

"We'll be seeing this pretty soon and again it's the demand," Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Monday.

While they may look exactly like Oxycontin, Percocet or other addictive prescriptions, these new pills are heroin in disguise. If you were to take a close look at some of these pills, it would be difficult to know they're fakes.

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"They are essentially chemically made," Zoeller said. "It's a lot easier to manufacture."

The heroin pills have already popped up in other states like Florida, Massachusetts and Ohio. Cases have been reported in Cincinnati and in Newport, Kentucky.

Authorities in Jefferson County and southern Indiana said they haven't seen it here yet, but the area is not immune. They already have their guard up.

"It's easier to hide as a pill form," Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel said. "But the thing of it is, it's no different than injecting it."

Monday night at St. Paul's Church in Jeffersonville, Clark County Cares held a forum about heroin's hold. It's one of several being held this week.

Parents spoke to us about finding their voice and fighting the stigma.

"It just sneaks in like a thief in the night, and you just don't even know," Malinda Mackenzie said.

Her three children are hooked on heroin. She said the children grew up in a loving home.

"This drug has taken everything from me," she said.

Like so many others, it started with pills.

"It's on its way and we have to keep talking about it. We have to," Mackenzie said.

Indiana's Attorney General worries the pills will get people on heroin easier.

"All of them would rather have a pill and that's why they're starting to see these creep into some of the markets," Zoeller said.

The pills can vary in potency, Noel said. Only one can kill.

A hit of heroin costs less than what prescriptions go for on the street. Dealers, Noel explained, are not blind to the opportunity.

"Is it illegal, absolutely," he said. "But are they being taken advantage a little bit by the dealers that probably aren't using, that's true too."

The Clark County Cares forum runs from Jan. 25 through Jan. 31.

The event is meant as a way for families experiencing addiction to come up with solutions.

Each meeting has a different topic. The event ends with a candlelight vigil on Sunday at the Big Four Bridge beginning at 5:30 p.m. Click here for more information.

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