Experts: Heroin growing problem that drives crime

INDIANAPOLIS - Public safety experts say heroin is a growing problem that is driving many of the crimes in the community.

On Wednesday, the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety partnered with health care experts to hold a community conversation about the issue and how to fight it.

Officials said 110 people died in heroin overdoses in Indiana last year. Mental health and public safety professionals say the problem is getting worse and is more widespread than you would think.

One Avon resident who did not want to be named said she knows the severity of the problem firsthand.

"I actually did cardiopulmonary resuscitation on my granddaughter. She and two of her friends overdosed in my home about six weeks ago. That's the first I knew that anything was going on," she said.

Now she wants to do something about it. That’s why she came to participate in the community discussion about the dangerous and deadly drug.

"There's nothing pretty about heroin addiction. And we need to face that. And we need to be able to talk about that openly, recognize it and take action with that," said Sheila Mischler with the St. Vincent Stress Center.

Health and public safety experts said the heroin problem has grown worse in Indiana in the last year and they hope to increase awareness about addiction and find solutions.

"We need to keep enforcement. But we need to also educate individuals and come up with a plan for rehabilitation. We have so many people addicted right now, I'm not sure we have the rehabilitation and services to meet the need," Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said.

It will require a continuing conversation -- both at the local and state level -- to look at resources and possible legislation.

As for why the problem has grown in Indiana, Riggs pointed to accessibility and a cheap price on the streets.

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