MOUNT OLIVE, Ill. (KSDK) - The small community of Mt. Olive has seen a spike in suspected heroin deaths recently.
The police chief says there have been two heroin drug busts this year in the city and three suspected heroin overdose deaths in just the past week and a half. Mt. Olive Police Chief Ryan Dugger says it's surprising and very dangerous.
"A lot of these people don't realize what's in the heroin. It's a mixed combination or the terminology of cutting it with other drugs or also the potency of the heroin, some of this is the raw heroin, some of these people aren't understanding that Which is then causing the overdoses," Dugger said.
One of the three victims who died last week from a suspected heroin overdose is 36-year-old Rian Higgins. His visitation was Tuesday night. His mother says her son struggled with drugs for about 20 years and went to rehab twice. She says Higgins kept hanging out with the wrong crowd and continued to abuse drugs. She says she wants people to realize how dangerous heroin can be.
She says her son thought he knew his limits but, this only further proves that there is no such thing as a safe drug. Police say they hope this tragedy serves as eye opener.
"Some of these people sometimes look at us as we are the 'bad guys' and I would rather they come in here sit down and talk to me. We be the goo guys and try to get them some help so we don't have this problem again," Dugger said.
He says he contacted outside agencies like the drug enforcement administration to help tackle the problem. We checked with other cities and counties. They track numbers for Opioid deaths, which include heroin and pain killer prescription drugs. St. Louis City had the most so far this year with 68.
St. Louis County had 55
St. Charles County- 18
Jefferson County, Missouri - 19
And Madison County had 22 so far this year.