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Police: Heroin rise continues in Capital Region

ALBANY -- Police and caregivers continue to see a rise in heroin users throughout the Capital Region. This week several people were arrested for heroin-related crimes and police are encountering more heroin users.

On Tuesday, Waterford police were called after workers at a Stewarts spent an hour trying to get a man out of a bathroom. When he finally opened the door for officers they observed products commonly used to take heroin.

Just about when we think we've seen the peak, it continues to go higher. Its back, it's bad, it's more potent than it's ever been, said Albany Co. Sheriff Craig Apple.

Deputies have caught several low-level drug dealers, but Apple said investigators are working to continue following the trail of drugs.

We're going to have to get lucky. We're going to have to stop some dirt bag carrying a few thousand bags of heroin. We're going to have to find him, stop him and hopefully he turns and we can get some traction. We can sit here and pop the five and 10 baggers all day every day and all we're going to do is fill our jails, said Apple.

Further north in Warren County, police say heroin use is soaring and are hoping medical providers work harder to prevent people from becoming addicts.

Heroin has reached epidemic levels of misuse and I think it's directly related to the high levels of prescriptions that are being handed out. One in three Americans are being given prescriptions for opiate based pain killers, said Lt. Steven Stockdale with the Warren County Sheriffs Office.

Addiction centers are also seeing a rise in people seeking treatment for heroin. The Addiction Care Centers of Albany estimates 70-percent of its residents were addicted to heroin.

Usually it starts with an injury and then they are prescribed pain medication and then they get dependent on pain medication and then once they no longer have access to pain medication they take to the street drugs, said Frederick Sumner with Addiction Care Centers. Heroin is a very addictive drug because it not only has a physiological effects, but also a psychological effect.

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