CHICAGO (CBS) — Officials in DuPage County sounded a warning Wednesday about how much worse the heroin crisis has become this year.
Hanover Park Deputy Police Chief Andrew Johnson said the heroin problem is not just a law enforcement issue.
“We know that this is not a problem we can arrest our way out of,” he said.
Johnson said the heroin problem is going to get worse.
DuPage County Coroner Richard Jorgensen said what’s making it worse is drug dealers are selling a homemade synthetic drug called fentanyl, which is up to 100 times more powerful than pure heroin, and packaging it as real prescription drugs.
“It is being made in homegrown labs, and it is then being packaged. We know for sure that it has been packaged as OxyContin and as Xanax,” Jorgensen said.
Fentanyl is cheaper to produce than heroin, and Jorgensen said drug dealers sometimes lace heroin with it or sell fentanyl by itself, and it’s killing people.
Jorgensen said first responders used Narcan – a opiate antidote – 65 times during the first five months of 2016 to save the lives of people overdosing on heroin or fentanyl; more times than it was used all of 2015 in DuPage County.
“This trend is alarming. It’s important that the public knows of these dangers and that this is much stronger and deadlier than heroin,” he said.