Heroin becoming dangerous nuisance in Middle Tennessee - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Heroin becoming dangerous nuisance in Middle Tennessee


A Middle Tennessee county is having trouble with a drug it had rarely seen before. It's not meth or oxycontin. The new, cheap drug has an old and evil reputation: heroin.

There have been two heroin overdose deaths in the past 10 days in Cheatham County in addition to the arrests of three other men for possession.

In one case, a young man was found dead on his porch in Cheatham County.

In another case, four men allegedly bought heroin in Nashville and came to Cheatham County where they shot up. Almost instantly, a 61-year-old man was dead.

"As soon as he injected, he immediately collapsed to the floor and never regained consciousness," said Cheatham County sheriff's Det. Shannon Hefflin.

Investigators hope to arrest the heroin dealer in this case and charge him with felony murder.

They also worry that heroin addicts commit other crimes.

"What they are doing is breaking into these homes and stealing everything these people have been working for their whole lives for their habits," said Cheatham County Sheriff John Holder.

You might ask why heroin and why now? The 23rd Judicial District Drug Court has discovered that heroin is now half price to one-quarter of the price of oxycontin and similar pills. It's cheaper but even more dangerous.

"Now with the availability of heroin, they're jumping in feet first, and it's allowing them a low bottom quick. And, unfortunately, that bottom for a lot of them is death," said Doug Beecham, director of the drug court program.

The drug court and public defender Jake Lockert are hoping to get more heroin users into the drug program that boasts an 85 percent success rate.

Lockert says most people don't realize that there have been more overdose deaths in Tennessee since 2010 than traffic deaths.

"We all see the signs up over the interstate that say 900 some people have been killed this year in traffic accidents. Imagine if they put one up saying 1,100 people have died of a drug overdose this year. Maybe we need to do something like that to bring it home," Lockert said.

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