Officers from Anoka, Hennepin and Ramsey counties shared the stage on Thursday afternoon to warn people about a growing trend, saying there is a heroin "infestation" in the area that is being fueled by prescription painkiller abuse.
A new report shows there were 56 heroin-related deaths in those counties last year alone. That's more than triple the reported cases in 2010.
"Analysis completed this year confirms that heroin from the Twin Cities was 93.5 percent pure compared to other cities in the United States," Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek explained. "A heroin user in the Twin Cities has a greater chance of accidental overdose because the purity of that heroin is so high."
Officials stress that one of the biggest gateways to heroin use is prescription painkiller abuse because once people are hooked, the heroin is cheaper to buy on the streets than the pills.
Law enforcement agencies say they plan to continue to offer prescription drug take-back programs to help remove unwanted drugs from homes so they cannot fall into the wrong hands.