Addiction, Gluttony – Day 149 of Project 365 originally uploaded by purplemattfish
Two weeks ago, after reading through recent and historical Dakota County Criminal Complaints for adults, I came across two narratives which covered adults involved in two separate heroin overdose cases concerning minors. Intrigued and under the impression that real news is hard to come by in the summer, I dug even further than my preliminary research and made some phone calls and found that teen heroin use is definitely on the rise in Dakota County.
I first contacted the Dakota County Attorney’s office, the same county attorney who was reprimanded by the Minnesota Supreme Court and recently fined $900 as well, and asked if they had noticed a recent rise in the number of teen heroin cases that came through the county. Community Relations Director Monica Jensen said that while they have not seen an uptick it could possibly be due to the fact that the cases just never came to them. She instead referred me to the Dakota County Drug Task Force and New Connection Programs in Hastings to get information direct from the “trenches”. While quite helpful, I have to wonder if this was an attempt at staying out of the limelight following the public reprimand handed down so very recently especially after an anonymous tipster told me flat out that the Dakota County Attorney’s Office believes there has been more cases of teenage heroin use lately.
I contacted the Dakota County Drug Task Force first and eventually spoke with an officer there who said that he has seen a rise in teen heroin use in Dakota County recently. He believes it may be following the cyclical supply trends that they routinely see with drugs like meth and cocaine but that heroin use is a problem because of its addictive qualities and thus once someone is hooked the continue to seek it out from their suppliers. I never did get through to the New Connections Program contact I was given even after multiple attempts but after seeing yet another arrest related to adult heroin use, this time in Rosemount, I figured that the criminal complaints would help to back up the Drug Task Force’s comments on their own.
So while there was some speculation and more questions asked than answered in my last post, it would definitely seem that heroin use amongst teens is on the rise with adults fueling the fire. A disturbing trend to say the least and one that I hope will cause local city councils to up the levels of public safety personnel and force police departments to reconsider poor decisions on which “crime” they choose to monitor.
Now that there is confirmation from yet another criminal complaint and the Dakota County Drug Task Force, do you think that more should be done to prevent teens from gaining access to this extremely dangerous drug? Should the Burnsville Police Department be sitting on a street corner counting honking horns and recording license plate numbers of protesters instead of tracking down drug use amongst residents? Whatever you think, go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say!