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Spike in heroin use alarms law enforcement officials

Thursday - 11/14/2013, 1:41pm  ET

Heroin addiction on the rise, but help is available

WTOP's Kristi King reports.

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WASHINGTON -- Seven people have died of heroin overdoses in Montgomery County since March -- which is more than the total overdose deaths in 2010, 2011 and 2012 combined.

"This recent spike in deaths attributed to heroin is particularly alarming," says Capt. Marcus Jones, director of Montgomery County Police Department's Major Crimes Unit, in a news release.

Jones says six of those seven deaths occurred since June. The victims are scattered throughout the county and range in age between 19 and 45.

The spike is not limited to Montgomery County. Law enforcement in Fairfax and Prince William counties say heroin use, seizures and overdoses are on the uptick.

The problem is also not limited to the D.C. region. A national survey on drug abuse released in September showed that the number of people abusing heroin between 2002 and 2012 more than doubled from 214,000 to 467,000.

In the last six years, the number of people who admitted to using heroin recently went from 373,000 in 2007 to 669,000 in 2012.

Fairfax County police officer Don Gotthardt says, "We are seeing an increase in heroin activity, are seeing an increase in heroin-related overdoses. We are aware and taking steps to ID the source."

WTOP's Kristi King contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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