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Heroin Use Reaching Epidemic Levels Across North Texas

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is calling the increase in heroin-related deaths an "urgent public health crisis" and says first responders should carry with them drugs to reverse the effects of an overdose.

The dangerous trend is being felt in North Texas as well says Dallas County Health Department Director Zach Thompson.

Thompson believes the reason is the highly addictive nature of the substance. He says the growing numbers of heroin related deaths and addictions are similar to the crack cocaine epidemic of mid 80's.

Dallas County Health Department Director Zach Thompson

Attorney General Eric Holder is encouraging first responders to carry with them the drug naxolone, which can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose if administered quickly. As of now - it is only legal to be carried by first responders in 17 states, not including Texas.

Thompson says he supports the AG's comments on the public health issue that it poses, but focused instead on prevention and getting information out to the public about the dangers of heroin use and abuse.

According to the U.S. Attorney General's office, the number of heroin overdose deaths in America has risen by 45 percent from 2006 to 2010.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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