Tennessee officials fear growing heroin problem

photo Mark Gwyn, Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

NASHVILLE - Law enforcement officials fear Tennessee is about to experience a flood of cheap, supercharged heroin as Mexican drug cartels rush to capitalize on residents' widespread addiction to prescription pain pills.

"We are seeing an influx of imported meth, but what I'm more concerned about ... is this proliferation of heroin we're seeing," Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn told Gov. Bill Haslam last week. "Heroin will be our next meth."

It's already showing up in Tennessee and could become a big problem over the next three to four years, he predicted.

That includes Chattanooga, said Capt. Nathan Vaughn, of the Chattanooga police special investigations unit.

"We have seen somewhat of an increase," Vaughn said.