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March 02. 2014 6:19PM

Heroin epidemic reaches Mount Washington Valley

CONWAY — The epidemic of heroin use sweeping across New Hampshire has reached this community in the shadow of Mount Washington.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services recently released a report warning of a "dangerous resurgence" of heroin use. Conway Police Chief Edward Wagner confirmed that this community has not gotten off unscathed.

"I think Conway is certainly part of that epidemic," said Wagner, who has been a member of the Conway Police Department for 19 years, the last nine of them as chief.

Wagner said the heroin problem really hit home last month with the arrest in Massachusetts of three young adults who have extensive ties to the Conway area as well as a history of past contacts with Conway police.

The trio — two men and one woman — were arrested on Feb. 6 in the Bay State and charged with illegal possession of heroin.

Wagner said his department's detectives are looking into whether the above arrests signal an even wider prevalence of heroin use than suspected.

Earlier this year, Conway police busted their first methamphetamine lab, said Wagner, adding that a federal drug official explained that where there's one lab, there are probably others. Applying that same rationale to heroin, Wagner said it's not much of a leap to expect that the drug has made inroads into Conway.

Wagner thinks heroin is soaring in popularity because "it's so difficult to get any of the prescription drugs now," with doctors, hospitals and pharmacies keeping a very close on powerful opiates such as oxycodone and its similar cousins. Heroin is also cheaper than many legal drugs being used illegally, Wagner said.

jkoziol@newstote.com


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