State police say they and their law enforcement partners have seen a rise in the sale and use of heroin in the North Country during the past two years, including a significant case involving a Massena man.
Several heroin busts have been made this year in Massena, including 77 grams of heroin Sept. 5 when 12 people were arrested on a variety of drug charges.
Just yesterday, the Adirondack Drug Task Force arrested two men with 598 envelopes of heroin.
On July 7, troopers conducted a traffic stop in Plattsburgh and arrested Justin R. Brailsford, 24, of Massena, and a New York City man for possessing 1,167 envelopes of heroin and approximately six ounces of cocaine.
Both men were charged with a Class A-II felony, second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for the cocaine and a Class B felony, third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for the heroin.
Brailsford, who was driving the vehicle, was also charged with unlawful possession of marihuana and several vehicle and traffic law violations.
That case is still under investigation by the New York State Police and the Homeland Security Investigations Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST).
State Police believe the rise in heroin sales and use in the area is being driven by higher prices for the drug being sold in more rural areas, along with a 2010 change in the formula of the frequently abused prescription painkiller OxyContin that made it more difficult to abuse, so users have been switching to heroin, which can be more dangerous.
Several of the drug roundups in the North Country are resulting in an increasing number of people being charged with selling the highly dangerous, addictive drug.
The New York State Police have investigated 23 fatal accidental overdoses since January 2012.
They say that they and their law enforcement partners will continue to be vigilant in an attempt to combat the increasing problem.