Columbus police fights rising heroin overdoses by targeting dealers

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COLUMBUS, Ind. - As the heroin epidemic grips central Indiana, new numbers in Columbus show the dramatic rise in overdoses and hope that the trend can turn around.

In 2014, the number of heroin overdoses multiplied five times in just one year from eight overdoses in 2013 to 40 the next year.

Police said the heroin antidote Narcan helped keep the number of deaths down but it was not a solution to the problem. So they joined forces with the Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department and the Prosecutor's Office to launch the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team and go after the dealers.

"These folks that are selling drugs in our community, they don't just stay here in Columbus. They're elsewhere," said Sgt. Matt Harris. "These detectives are gonna go where the investigation leads them. Whether it be here in Columbus or you know in a neighboring town or county."

Police were able to arrest several dealers and those arrests seem to be paying off. This year, the number of overdoses have dropped to 10.

"Ten overdoses is still too many,” said Harris. "We’re going to continue our efforts and keep working hard and those persons that are selling drugs or using drugs in our community... they’ll be incarcerated.”

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