NASH COUNTY N.C. (WTVD) -- The Nash County Sheriff is calling for stiffer sentences for drug dealers after five people died of heroin overdoses in the past week.
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"We had about 7,000 dosage seizures last year, and this year we're in January, and we're making arrests every day," Nash Sheriff Keith Stone said. "We've got probably eight officers working drugs all the time, and they're staying busy day and night."
Still, Stone said, that's not enough. It's why he's working on creating a task force, to have 15-25 officers, of his 80-person department, to concentrate on narcotics.
"This heroin, and the other types of drugs, is what's causing havoc in the communities," Stone said. "From break-ins to stealing, to robberies, it's the root of a lot of those problems."
Daniel Moss, a pastor and owner of Cornerstone Funeral Home and Cremations in Nashville, said he's tired of seeing young people overdose and die from the drug.
"When you start getting a numerous amount of bodies, in a short period of time, there's issues that need to be addressed," Moss said.
He said his funeral home has seen an increase in dozens of overdoses in the past several months, and that many are teenagers.
"It breaks my heart," Moss said. "I have teenagers and the first question I ask myself is 'what if it was my child?' "
Moss tells us many of the families of the heroin overdoses he serves are shocked and surprised by the death of their loved one.
Stone said it's why he showed ABC11 some of the heroin packets (or "bindles" as they're called), black tar heroin and crystal meth that his undercover officers have seized. He said he wants the people of Nash County to familiarize themselves with the drugs and talk to their loved ones about it early.
"I want to show them so that the community knows what heroin looks like," Stone said. "The family that's in church, and works Monday through Friday, and is at home - they don't know what these drugs look like. I want them to see what the drugs look like and talk to your family members, let them know how deadly this stuff is."
Stone said a heroin bust a couple of month ago, off the interstate, uncovered about $63,000 worth of heroin, and opened his eyes to the problem.
"Two ladies, that look like they're business ladies, distributing this stuff, 9 ounces of it, with no care of what it's doing to our community," Stone said. "And then a day or two later, I'm going to a mobile home and look inside, and see an otherwise healthy young man, laying on the floor, that is already turned blue from an overdose, and just the sad way in which he's passed away, and the senseless way that he died - I take a serious look at this.
"I know that enforcement in this area really needs to be stepped up and that's what we're doing."