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NYSP: Heroin use growing in the north country

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PLATTSBURGH - The New York State Police and its law enforcement partners have seen a rise in the sales and use of heroin in the north country during the past two years. Just yesterday, the Adirondack Drug Task Force arrested two men with 598 envelopes of heroin.

New York State Police noted Thursday that troopers conducted a traffic stop July 7 on North Catherine Street in Plattsburgh and subsequently arrested Justin R. Brailsford, 24, of Massena and Jon J. Garcia, 22, of New York, New York for possessing 1,167 envelopes of heroin and approximately six ounces of cocaine.

Both Brailsford and Garcia were charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (class A-II felony) for the cocaine and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (class B felony) for the heroin.

Brailsford, who was driving the vehicle, was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and ticketed him for 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).

Brailsford and Garcia were borh indicted on federal drug charges as part of the Operation Problem Child. Brailsford was picked up on the indictment that day; Garcia was already in state custody.

State police, in a release, said they believe the rise in heroin sales and use in the area is being driven by an increased value in the drug being sold in more rural areas along with a 2010 change in the formula of the frequently abused prescription painkiller OxyContin.

It is believed that the formula change makes inhaling or injecting the opioid drug more difficult so many users are switching to heroin which can be potentially more dangerous.

Several of the area drug round ups in the north country are showing 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.

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