Part 2: Undercover Enforcers

How Can We Curb Opioid Addiction?

Duluth city leaders, politicians and the medical community are working to reverse the trend of opioid addiction in our communities.

As you’re about to see in part two of “Undercover Enforcers,” it’s all about saving lives and cutting down on the customer base available to money hungry dealers, as FOX 21’s Dan Hanger reports.

For an undercover investigator on the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, a heroin drug bust is the ultimate high.

“Oh my God, it’s awesome. It is,” explained “Investigator W” after making a bust and seeing a criminal sent to prison.

And while it’s rewarding for investigators to put dealers in the slammer, top law enforcers and politicians know that will never fully solve the deadly problem.

“The problem is — and it’s kind of a worn out saying — but we can’t prosecute ourselves out of this problem. Our jail is bulging,” explained St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin.

Rubin has partnered up with the Duluth Police Department, the medical community and a U.S. Senator to find some type of solution to prescription drug abuse that often times ends with heroin use.

“The problem is we have a market here and the people who deal the drugs are taking advantage and they’re making it worse. They take advantage of this hungry market,” Rubin said.

Just this week, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar made a stop in Duluth for a panel discussion about the opioid epidemic.

“One of the most startling figures is that heroin addicts now – four out of five of them — got their start with prescription drugs,” Klobuchar recently explained at an opioid addiction forum in Duluth. “It’s just not what you imagine when you think of someone doing heroin.”

Klobuchar is behind new legislation that recently passed the Senate and would increase prevention and response efforts for victims of addiction before they ever enter the criminal system.

“The best thing that happened to some of the addicts is that if they get into the criminal system and into drug court … then they can get access to the resources of a drug court and treatment. I you’re just out there without those resources and just depending on your health insurance, it can be very hard to get into that treatment. So that is something else we have to grapple with,” Klobuchar explained.

Meanwhile, as discussions continue about solutions for opioid addiction, one this in very clear, heroin dealers – or murderers as Rubin sometimes calls them – will never get any breaks, at least in St. Louis County.

“This is a felony offense. This is criminal activity far more serious under the law than drunk driving, far more serious than domestic abuse – first time. It’s that serious,” Rubin said.

“We may not get you today. We may not get you tomorrow. But we know you are selling and we will meet soon. That’s just the way it is,” “W” said.

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