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Mar 10, 2016 5:45 PM

Laconia officials: Heroin overdose calls on the decline - but meth on the rise

LACONIA - Police and first responders said heroin overdoses seem to be on the decline. The reason why is unclear, but both police and fire officials said methamphetamine is on the rise, and typically results in fewer overdose calls.

UPDATE: 4 more arrested in Laconia drug sweep bringing total to 20, 12 more still sought

Following an Operation Granite Hammer bust in Manchester, Laconia fire officials said overdoses dropped dramatically.

"We saw almost an immediate decline in heroin overdoses that we were going to," said Fire Chief Ken Erickson.

READ: Laconia drug sweep nets arrests of 16 suspected dealers of heroin, fentanyl, meth and crack

A recent bust in Laconia that's netted 20 alleged drug dealers could help continue the trend of fewer overdoses, officials said, but it likely means addicts will seek other drugs.

"When people lose the heroin they're going somewhere else and methamphetamine seems to be an alternative," Fire Chief Ken Erickson said.

READ: Laconia police still looking for 17 more after 16 suspected drug dealers arrested in sweep

Erickson said he applauds the police department for getting mid-level dealers off the street, but he's concerned about what the alleged dealers that have been released on bail will do until trial.

"I would suspect that half the people that just got arrested are going to get released on bail and probably go back to selling heroin," Erickson said.

Laconia police said they have been upping their efforts amid the drug crisis, adding a detective to the drug unit, hiring a prevention and treatment officer and they're looking into pursuing grants to expand offensive tactics, including drug sweeps.

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