PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Substance abuse specialists and law-enforcement officials say they're seeing a disturbing trend, an increase in heroin addiction and trafficking in Maine.
Over the past couple of months there have been a number of high profile arrests stemming from drug dealing to mroe reports of people overdosing on the drug.
Ronni Katz, the substance abuse program coordinator for the city of Portland spent part of the day putting up these fliers letting people know about the increase of heroin overdoses and numbers they can call to get help.
Katz says officials from the Northern New England Poison Center put out the alert after getting reports from area hospitals and health care centers about a rash of heroin overdoses in the Portland and Augusta area.
Katz says while the reports are anecdotal she believes the increase is due to the crackdown on the illegal use of prescription painkillers is resulting in addicts switching to heroin which is also more available in Maine a purer form.
"We're hearing that htere has been a rise in heroin use, we are hearing that a lot younger people because it is lot mroe pure you can inject it, you can snort it, you can smoke it. Although the troubling thing is we are hearing that a lot of more younger people are turning to injecting it which had been taboo for many of them," said Katz.
Roy McKinney, the Director of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency says heroin seizures are actually down from last year. But he says more people are coming to Maine to sell heroin which is getting a higher street price than in other parts of New England.