Smoking (and snorting) heroin has increased its popularity.
For the second time this year, St. Louis area police chiefs and drug counselors will gather together to discuss what's been called an "epidemic" of heroin use in the region.
As we reported earlier this year
, the number of heroin overdoses in St. Louis County have doubled since 2007, with 60 people losing their lives to the drug just last year. Similar or greater spikes in heroin ODs have been seen in the city, as well as St. Charles, Franklin and Jefferson counties.
In April, area police chiefs held a press conference
to alert the media to the perils of heroin in the community. Tonight's meeting at Pattonville High School
(7p.m to 8:30 p.m.) is intended to open the topic up to the general public.
Anyone is encouraged to attend the free event. Speakers will include law enforcement as well as representatives from The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and the St. Louis County Children's Service Fund.
Today most heroin in the United States is grown and processed in Mexico and is generally much stronger than the versions of the drug sold in the past. Due to its increased purity, the drug no longer needs to be injected via a syringe. It can be smoked or snorted, making it appear more like a recreational drug than the hard-core fix of a junkie.