As Heroin Use spreads, A More Aggressive Stance

With heroin becoming cheaper than a six-pack of beer and as easy to obtain as pot, police, and prosecutors are turning to more aggressive tactics against the drug, dusting off little-used laws to seek murder charges against suspected dealers and provide for longer prison sentences.

Angry suburban parents are joining the effort, too. They have organized antidrug rallies and founded organizations to spread the word about heroin in affluent areas where it is usually considered a distant, unlikely threat.

The more assertive approach is not entirely new to the drug war, but it’s being adopted more widely and in more areas that have rarely been so bold – comfortable residential communities.

Heroin is easier to get than marijuana now,’’ said Jim Shroba, the Drug Enforcement Administration agent in charge of the St. Louis office.

It’s also cheap: A “button’’ of heroin – enough for one person to get high – can cost as little as $6.