Drug trends changing across mid-Missouri

Meth still most common, but heroin use continues to rise

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Law enforcement are seeing small shifts in drug trends across mid-Missouri.

In the weekend before New Years Day, Jefferson City police have confirmed at least one non-fatal heroin overdose. Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long will hold a second heroin roundtable next Monday in an effort to combat the spread of that drug, much like Jefferson City's HOPE Campaign effort in 2012.

A Columbia man, Travis Rudloff, pleaded guilty Tuesday to having five kilos of cocaine in 2011.

According to local law enforcement, the most common drug in mid-Missouri continues to be methamphetamine. But even that drug trend has started to change.

The Mid-MO Drug Task Force, which focuses on counties near the Lake of the Ozarks and north, said some users have stopped making their own meth, buying instead of entrepreneurs or Mexican cartels; in many cases to avoid additional drug charges.

"I think that's one of the reasons you're seeing the shift," said Capt. Donald Isaac. "Plus, it's cheaper and actually the Mexican meth is more pure."

Investigators in Howard, Randolph and Boone Counties agreed, noting that crystal meth has displaced "shake-and-bake" or mobile meth.

Heroin, though, continues to be on the rise. In Randolph County, Sheriff Mark Nichols told ABC 17 News Tuesday his detectives have intelligence suggesting it is spreading there.

And for Isaac and his investigators, heroin arrests are picking up, too.

"We made more heroin arrests last year then we had in previous years," he said. "It seems to be on an uprise."

An investigator in Boone County, whose identity ABC 17 News is hiding to protect the integrity of his job, said Tuesday heroin has been rising there, too.

"If you nailed me down and asked for the second biggest drug trend here, it's heroin," he said. "Our incidents have gone up parallel to Jefferson City's but not really as severe. Why? I have no idea."

Other top drugs in mid-Missouri include cocaine and prescription pill abuse.

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