Heroin Deaths On Rise In Florida

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Tallahassee, FL - January 4, 2013

In 2011, 62 Floridians died from heroin overdoses, an increase of more than 18%, according to FDLE numbers.

"Heroin is cheaper," said Vicki Burks a psychotherapist at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

Burks works at the hospital's behavioral center. She deals with addicts of all kinds on a regular basis. Burks says addicts hooked on prescription drugs sometimes look for another high.

"If you have an addict that's looking to avoid with drawl and needs opiates they're going to start using heroin."

Burks says recent legislation by Florida Governor Rick Scott against pill mills have forced some users tow switch to heroin because of the availability and lower cost.

"The introduction of more heroin is going to create more addicts. I think it's just going to be 'we found a cheaper way to get a drug.'"

Although cases in the Big Bend are not as common as south Florida, law enforcement officials know some users turn to crime to feed an addiction.

"Unfortunately there does come a time in an addict where they will do whatever is necessary to get that high," said Tallahassee Police Officer Scott Beck.

Burks says there still needs to be more funding to help drug addicts recover.

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