News

Ithaca police chief: Heroin is “an epidemic” in our community

Ithaca police chief: Heroin is “an epidemic” in our community

From left, Ithaca Police Chief John Barber, Ithaca Public Information Officer Jamie Williamson and Deputy Chief Peter Tyler addressing city lawmakers Wednesday, July 23./Peter Blanchard

Heroin use is no longer just a problem in bigger cities. As WHCU’s Pete Blanchard details in this week’s health report, it’s a public health issue right here in our own backyard.

Last week, top Ithaca police officials appeared before the city’s common council to discuss their department’s goals ahead of 2015 budget discussions.

An issue that seems to come up time and again for local law enforcement is heroin.

When asked by city lawmaker Cynthia Brock how real of a problem heroin has become for their department, Police Chief John Barber gave a frank answer.

“I’m very comfortable saying that heroin is an epidemic in our community,” Barber said.

Heroin use is up all across the northeast. It’s become cheaper in recent years and is more available than ever.

Authorities have cracked down on prescription drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin, and people who found themselves unable to get what they wanted turned to heroin to satisfy their addiction.

Mayor Svante Myrick said people who were once dependent on prescription drugs are now using the needle.

“There’s no doubt that the availability of prescription drugs has gone down because of some wise changes that were made to track them, and the cost of heroin has gone down,” Myrick said. “Those two things are meeting in the middle to create a whole new pool of customers.”

In response to an increase in drug overdoses in the community, Barber says his officers will be trained to use Narcan, a drug that when administered can effectively reverse the effects of an overdose.

Recent Headlines

in Sports, Viral Videos

Middle school team runs ‘Ugly Kardashian’ trick play

17-overlay2

Lewis and Clark Middle School's football team gets tricky with a special play called the "Ugly Kardashian."

in Music

Family confirms Malcolm Young battling dementia

Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams, Angus Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC
Premiere of 'AC/DC - Live at River Plate' at Hammersmith Apollo - Arrivals London, England - 06.05.11

The AC/DC rocker has been admitted to a care facility in Australia.

in Weird

Man’s overpowering cologne leads to arrest

perfume

A man who tried to run from police during a high speed chase was just too smelly to hide.

in Viral Videos

Jeff Goldblum’s bizarre new lightbulb ad

13-overlay6

The "Jurassic Park" actor shows you the benefits of mood lighting, wearing nothing but tiny swim trunks and a bad wig.

in Music

Another ‘Midnight Rider’ official charged

midnightrider

The Allman Brothers biopic assistant director has been charged in connection with the death of a crew member.