THORNTON, Colo. - In the past drug agents would confiscate small quantities of heroin, but that is now changing.
"We used to buy heroin, and we used to seize heroin in gram quantities, which is little. And now we're seizing them in pound quantities. We're seeing such an increase," said Cmdr. Jerry Peters of the North Metro Drug Task Force.
Peters says his agency has seen heroin seizures jump 912 percent between 2009 and 2013.
In 2012, 184.42 grams was confiscated. That number spiked to 21.86 pounds in 2013.
"Is that a big deal?" asked 7NEWS reporter Marc Stewart.
"That's a huge deal for us," Peters said. "In Colorado, we've never seen that much heroin come in at that particular time. In over one year, for one task to seize 21 pounds is enormous."
The Interstate 25 corridor is still the pipeline for heroin coming into Colorado. It's the stronger potency of the drug that's causing new concern.
Local and federal agents tell 7NEWS prescription drug abusers are often looking for something even stronger, so they turn to heroin.
"The type of the heroin that we're getting in now is more potent than it has been in the past. And I think it's just simply a tolerance level," said Peters.
The typical user is about 30 to 40 years old, yet Peters says that average is dropping.