Column: Heroin is an increasing concern in Fishers

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By Larry Lannan

Even in a community like Fishers, often honored as one of the safest places in the nation, there are problems. That goes with being a suburb next door to a city the size of Indianapolis.

I started to hear stories about an increase in the use of heroin around the Fishers area. I went to the Fishers Police Dept. for answers.

Lieutenant Cameron Ellison, of the Fishers Police Investigations Division, says he found an increase in heroin use in the Fishers area about two-and-a-half years ago. Lately, he says, there has been a local “uptick” in heroin use.

At one time, Fishers police officers would occasionally run across heroin use in investigating a crime. Now, Ellison says, it happens almost daily.

Although there are more heroin users in Fishers, Lt. Ellison finds the drugs are normally purchased outside Fishers then brought to the local community. He calls this a law enforcement challenge, because it requires several law enforcement agencies to work together on these investigations.

What makes this even harder to quantify is the fact that thefts and burglaries are often tied to supporting a drug habit like heroin. Those charged with these crimes do not always tell authorities that their criminal behavior is tied to a drug addiction.

What makes heroin a particularly dangerous drug is how quickly the addiction begins, unlike other chemical substances where the habit is acquired slowly, over time. With heroin addictions, according to Ellison, “…once these people experience the high, they’re hooked.”

What can parents do in looking for danger signs with their children? Lt. Ellison draws upon his experience on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

“If they’re your kids, you need to be in their business,” says Ellison. “You need to know what they’re doing, who they’re with, who those people are and what they’re into.”

Ellison knows some people in Fishers are saying we are experiencing a heroin epidemic, like the national crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s.

“I don’t know that you would call what we’re seeing now an epidemic,” Ellison says. “I know some people have. Certainly, we’re working in that direction.”

Based on my talk with Lt. Ellison, I took away some important facts. Heroin use is increasing locally and is likely tied to an uptick in burglaries and thefts in Fishers. Parents need to keep an eye on their children for any danger signs.

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