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Heroin bust highlights Utah's opioid problem

Utah has a drug problem, specifically with opioid abuse. Thursday, law enforcement tried to tackle the problem at the root by eliminating the source of the drugs.
Sandy, UT (ABC 4 UTAH)- Utah has a drug problem, specifically with opioid abuse. Thursday, law enforcement tried to tackle the problem at the root by eliminating the source of the drugs.

A six-month long investigation ended with the seizure of more than 90 pounds of heroin and the arrests of 17 suspected Mexican drug cartel members. But many fear that’s not enough to combat the growing problem. People in the addiction recovery field say Mexican drug cartels are targeting Utah because there are plenty of people here who will buy their product.

While law enforcement celebrates, recovering heroin addict Brittany remembers.

“From my experience, I didn't think it was possible to live without heroin,” said Brittany Horigan.

So police rounded up 90 pounds of heroin here in Utah. Let’s say a third of it was supposed to stay here and not be distributed to neighboring states. That means 30 pounds, or seven million doses of heroin suddenly off the streets.

“There are definitely a bunch of addicts that are wondering what am I going to do now because that would've been me back in the day,” said Horigan.

Brittany’s story is like many others in Utah. She started with prescription drugs and then moved to the cheaper and easier-to-get heroin. Now the drugs are locked up and so are the drug dealers.

“You're going to see people injecting more, turning to crime more, overwhelming that burden is going to fall on families and law enforcement,” said New Roads Treatment Center Director of Program Services Dr. Kevin McCauley.

It’s the harsh realities of addiction. But the hope is that those addicts will start their road to recovery. A road many thought they’d never travel.

“What we deal with a lot are families who never thought they would have this problem and kids who thought they would never have this problem,” said McCauley.

Dr. Kevin McCauley applauds law enforcement for the big bust, but hopes those addicts turn to New Roads Treatment Center in Sandy or other places where they can get help.

“These are very powerful drugs,” said McCauley.
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