By Kathryn Eustler

Springfield, MO – As of the first week in November, there were already 23 reported drug crimes in our area, according to the Springfield Crime Alert.

The Springfield police department says there has specifically been an increase in use of Heroin.

“The draw to it is like any other drug. It takes people away from reality, and in this case a heroin high lasts a little longer than a meth high, so you tend to see people get it for that. Right now, on the streets of Springfield, heroin is a little higher than meth,” said Steve Miller of the Springfield police narcotics division.

Policing the drug market, here in one of the Midwest’s four primary drug market areas, means taking a few different approaches.

“Some is covert, some is overt; sometimes it’s sitting down with people who are in the drug trade and asking them where they’re getting it,” said Miller.

Police say one reason for the increase is that heroin is now available in pill form, making it easier to access.

“So people can now take it, it’s just like any other kind of prescription medication, they can swallow it so they don’t have to inject it,” said Sally Gibson, director of Murney Clinic in Springfield.

Gibson adds that because of this, her clinic has seen an increase in the number of younger addicts.

“We don’t have a lot of kids using IV drugs, but now that it is in pill form they can start using it younger, because it’s accessible, it’s cheaper. They can find it on the street, they start using it younger, they use it longer, and the younger you start the harder it is to stop,” said Gibson.

To reduce the availability of the drug, however, Springfield police say they will continue to focus on locating and prosecuting those who create and distribute the drug.

Over eight-thousand Americans died from Heroin overdose last year.