Amarillo sees an increase of heroin cases - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Amarillo sees an increase of heroin cases

Posted: Updated:
Amarillo, TX - Trafficking of heroin is increasing in the Amarillo area and across the state.

Officials say the popularity of heroin has increased largely because the drug has become cheaper.

Law enforcement in our area says they have seen an increase in arrests and seizures of black tar heroin in the last five years.

Corporal Jerry Neufeld says a large part of the increase is due to traffic along I-40.

"We have a lot of narcotics travel through the city because of where we are located at. You know a major interstate east and west, drugs are transported, but drugs also come just for here. So it is a problem, sometimes when there is drug activity there can be other violence, robberies, shootings, homicides"

Another big reason, black market pain medications are growing more expensive and harder to find because of stricter doctor regulations.

Rick Wieners, a licensed chemical dependency counselor with PRIDE explained why some pain medication addicts may be turning to heroin.

"This drug is in the same class of drugs as morphine and hydrocodone, those all come from the same source. So if a person may have been taking hydrocodone and they the doctor says, you don't need this anymore they are going to be looking for a replacement for that"

Most of the heroin found in our area is coming from Mexico or on its way to California.

"Traffic stops that they are making, they are periodically finding larger amounts of heroin 3 pounds, you know 5 pounds of heroin seizures from time to time ... not just in the Texas Panhandle, but Oklahoma and New Mexico, it is a problem and it is always out there on the road."