Increasing impact of heroin in Kansas City area

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The United States Attorney General called the rising number of heroin deaths in the U.S. an urgent public crisis. On Tuesday, Kansas City police revealed 14 people died from heroin overdoses in 2013.

That problem is even greater outside of the city. In 2010, 70 people in Missouri died from the drug. In 2013, that number went up to 187.

Leawood native Anna Kirshenbaum, 22, goes to school in Oregon but two years ago she suffered from a drug addiction. Her drug of choice was heroin.

“She found oxycontin and in between she did other kinds of opiates. Then at age 18, she found heroin,” Anna’s mother Lena Price said.

Anna didn’t buy it in the city; she got it in the suburbs.

“She used to buy heroin in Olathe. It's not only in Olathe,” Price said.

The use of the drug rose 79 percent nationwide between 2007 and 2012.

Molly O'Neill of First Call in Kansas City said the problem is greatest outside of cities.

“It's really important that people in the suburbs come to understand that this is a suburban issue. This is an issue that isn't at the urban core as much as it is in the suburbs,” O’Neill said.

The addiction often starts with prescription drugs.

“More and more access to oxycontin, oxycodone and prescription medications but that is getting more expensive where heroin is not,” O’Neill said.

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