CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County police agencies are getting together to battle heroin, the latest favorite illegal drug in many parts of the Mountain State.
The county has announced the HEAT effort, Heroin Eradication Associated Taskforce, that will initially be financed by $250,000 from the county’s Public Safety Grant.
Kanawha County Sheriff John Rutherford said the money will be used to pay officers overtime and to finance undercover buys.
“Heroin has taken over as the drug of choice,” Rutherford said. “This effort will put every local police department and the sheriff’s department together with funding to go out and fight this problem we have in the county.”
Other parts of West Virginia, particularly the northern panhandle, have reported problems with heroin. Sheriff Rutherford said meth and prescription drugs are still problems but they are getting more calls about heroin. The Kanawha County Ambulance Authority is responding to approximately two calls a week for heroin overdose.
“You don’t know how potent it is. You don’t know what has tainted the drug,” Sheriff Rutherford said. “It’s a life or death situation.”
HEAT is made up of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department, county prosecutor’s office, U.S. Attorney’s Office, the ambulance authority and police departments in Kanawha County municipalities.