Branch Co. officials say heroin use worse than ever

Branch Co. officials say heroin use worse than ever

BRANCH COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Heroin use is worse than ever in Branch County, according to the sheriff's department.

After multiple drug-related deaths, deputies are now adding the anti-overdose drug Nalaxone to their tool belt.

The Branch County Sheriff's Department says heroin use has spiked early this year compared to last year.

Deputies have already needed to use Nalaxone on a person who overdosed.

In an area where deputies say the problem used to be nonexistent, the sale and use of heroin are now being seen in Branch County.

"It just seems there are more and more frequent cases of heroin use," said Branch County Undersheriff Keith Eichler.

Eichler says at the start of the year, deputies were trained how to administer Nalaxone, and now every deputy carries a kit.

"So if an incident should happen, hopefully a deputy or an officer can respond and hopefully save a life," he said.

But Eichler says heroin being sold in Branch County has already claimed lives.

"It was laced with something else. And that was causing a lot of issues, and we had some deaths down here in this area in reference to some heroin," he said.

In recent weeks, Eichler says the heroin issue is now somewhat better than authorities were seeing earlier this year. But he says the problem still exists.

"Since those people have been caught, and arrested, and processed through the court system, and either sent off to prison, that's fallen down a little but like I said, it's still out there," he said.

Deputies say meth is also a big problem in the area. They're cleaning up leftover materials off the side of the road.

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