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Published October 17, 2012, 09:44 PM

Fergus Falls seeing increase in heroin cases

Fergus Falls, MN (WDAY TV) - With an increasing number of heroin related deaths and arrests in Fergus Falls, the community has growing concerns about the prevalence of the drug in town.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fergus Falls, MN (WDAY TV) - With an increasing number of heroin related deaths and arrests in Fergus Falls, the community has growing concerns about the prevalence of the drug in town.

Just Monday, authorities arrested a man on third degree murder charges tied to a drug overdose involving heroin from August.

In the past year, the small town of Fergus Falls has seen a huge heroin presence sweeping city streets.

Lt. Terry Eldien, Fergus Falls Police: “I think everyone is seeing more heroin cases than we saw maybe 5 years ago, 10 years ago.”

In August 23-year-old Tom Rasmusson died from a drug overdose, partly due to heroin. And on Monday, 27-year-old Christopher Tiffany was arrested on a third degree murder charge for his death.

Michael Natale, Resident: “Heroin in general is a problem but to have people dying from it, I mean it's important to get things like that under control.”

The increase is part of a national trend, moving popularity from prescription painkillers to heroin because the two share similar side effects.

Luke Collins, Resident : “It makes me scared and stuff and I'm sure everyone else is a little worried about that too. Can't trust everyone.”

Police say one factor contributing to the growing drug problem in Fergus Falls is location. Living right off of I-94, people in town have easier access to drugs coming from Fargo and Minneapolis.

Eldien: “In perspective, it's still a very low use drug compared to the other drugs in our community.”

But heroin can be much more dangerous, explaining the sudden death that's acted as a wakeup call for this community.

Eldien: “Because heroin has a high tendency for overdose, you know it's a central nervous system depressant and you don't know you've had too much, you don't know the strength of it until it's too late.”

Natale: “If you have a friend who is struggling with things, make them know that there are certain things that are available for them, rehab centers, because ultimately you care about them and you care about your neighbor and you want to extend the love that you have for them.”

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