DELAWARE COUNTY, Ind. -- Deputies in Delaware County are stepping up their efforts to curb the heroin problem in the community. After spikes in overdoses and even deaths, deputies discovered a large majority of heroin coming into the county is fentanyl based.
"Some of the heroin that is being laced with fentanyl has been almost pure fentanyl lately," said an undercover deputy.
The fentanyl laced heroin has proven to be deadly in the community. Delaware County EMS respond to multiple drug overdoses each day, many of them have been fatal.
Deputies said the drugs are being shipped from southern countries, transported to nearby communities, and then end up in Muncie. Heroin cannot be grown in central Indiana.
“There’s an environment for the plant that heroin is made from that typically comes from south of the border here and it’s not able to be grown and produced here," the deputy said.
Delaware County Prosecutor Jeff Arnold said the heroin epidemic hasn't even reached the "tip of the ice burg." Indiana no longer has mandatory sentences for drug offenses. Arnold said the law hurts the ability to prosecute, enforce and investigate drug crimes.
Delaware County and many other communities across the nation are faced with a lack of drug treatment programs. Arnold said with users behind bars, they aren't getting the treatment they need long-term, but they are staying alive in the meantime.
“If they’re in jail, at least they’re not using and they’re not going to overdose," Arnold said.
When asked about any solutions, Arnold said, “I wish I knew that. If I did, I could help a lot of people."
Both the sheriff's department and Arnold want to send a strong message to people trying to sell drugs in Delaware County, that they won't get away with it.