Heroin abuse on the rise across Alabama
by Rachel Davis
Nov 04, 2012 | 2662 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SUMITON — Sumiton and Dora Police Departments, in conjunction with Walker County Coroner J.C. Poe, presented an officer education seminar on Thursday night at Bevill State Community College in Sumiton. The topic of this class was “Current Trends in Drug Trafficking” and was presented by Michael Cuento, group superviser for the United States Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Agency.

Cuento is in the Birmingham District Office, which oversees northern Alabama. They work with other offices and agencies across the country to find and stop drug trafficking into the country and from state to state.

Cuento told the assembled officers that they are actually seeing a slowdown of cocaine and crack throughout the state.

“Cocaine is just not as common as it use to be,” Cuento said. “It has really dropped over the last few months.”

Cocaine seizures in Alabama have fallen from 361.2 kilograms seized in fiscal year 2009 to just 68.8 kilograms in fiscal year 2012.

Methamphetamines remain in high supply throughout the state as well. Often these drugs are manufactured at home and not trafficked, although some is being brought into the country from Mexico.

Always popular, marijuana has actually seen a decrease in trafficking popularity although local availability remains high.

“There has not been a lot of marijuana or cocaine seizures, it has been mostly ice or heroin,” Cuento said.

Heroin has seen a dramatic increase, according to Cuento, in part because of a change to the prescription drug OxyContin that made the drug difficult to inject.

“Apparently the drug manufacturers changed the consistency of OxyContin so they’ve moved on to something else,” Cuento told the more than two dozen officers from 13 departments across the state.

Cuento also updated officers on several other, less popular drugs and the variety of ways that traffickers are currently bringing drugs into the country, including hidden compartments and even submersible vehicles.

This was part of a series of classes hosted by the three agencies as part of a partnership to provide cost effective continuing education credits for local officers. Law enforcement agencies can contact Sumiton or Dora Police or the Coroner’s Office for more information on future classes.