Our Views: Heroin use ticks upward

The apparent resurgence of heroin use in south Louisiana seems to be part of a national trend, although that’s probably little comfort for area law enforcement officials trying to deal with the problem.

Baton Rouge authorities have reported 11 deaths from heroin doses so far this year, more than double the five cases reported for the whole of 2012.

Heroin is a cheaper alternative to illegally obtained prescription pain killers, which have been harder to come by because of increased law enforcement efforts.

Heroin use is up across the country.

A recent report issued from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said, of the people reporting, 373,000 said they used heroin in 2007, while 620,000 said they used it in 2011.

One trend reported by USA Today should get the attention of south Louisiana residents.

The newspaper mentioned heroin use is rising in the suburbs, growing in popularity among some of the nation’s most affluent households. We hope that sad finding helps dispel the notion that illegal drug use is a problem only in the poor inner city. Upon such complacency, epidemics are built.

We’re glad that area law enforcement officials seem to be taking the new heroin threat seriously. Fighting this scourge will also require a renewed effort at public education. More people need to know about heroin’s often dire consequences for its users — and the friends and family members they leave behind.