22-year-old Ryan Kincaid of Granite City says he's lost two friends to heroin overdoses in the past 11 months.
He believes leaders in law enforcement and city government can and should do more so he organized a peaceful rally outside City Hall Wednesday morning. There were 15 people marching and chanting while we were there. "Up with hope, down with dope, get it out," was the phrase they repeated over and over.
I got a sense heroin is a big problem in the Granite City area not because of who was participating in the rally, but who wasn't.
A young woman who happened to be outside City Hall introduced herself as a former heroin abuser. Tiffany Monroe told me she overdosed twice in the past two-and-a-half months and her sister is in prison for the second time because of heroin.
A man outside City Hall who also had nothing to do with the marchers told me his step-son died of a heroin overdose days after Christmas.
I was starting to wonder if anyone within my line of sight wasn't impacted by heroin.
Ryan Kincaid says he really doesn't know where else to turn. He believes budget cuts have impacted narcotics enforcement within the city. An assistant police chief confirms the heroin problem but says they're doing all they can and if people can tell them who the drug dealers are, they'll go get them.
I asked Ryan why heroin is such a problem here. Are there dealers on every corner? He said, "They're everywhere. It's not hard to find in Granite City. It (heroin) finds you more than you find it."
Ryan and his friends may not appreciate my next comment, but there is something called personal accountability. I doubt people are being injected with heroin against their will. If there was no demand for the addictive narcotic, wouldn't the dealers go somewhere else? Just wondering.
Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV. He can be reached at MSchnyder@kmov.com.