ST. LOUIS ( -- Police on both sides of the river are investigating a deadly batch of heroin that's hit the St. Louis area.

Heroin laced with fentanyl has been popping up in the region and first responders have been dealing with a spike in overdose cases and at least two deaths linked to the drug.

“Probably within the last three to five years we've seen those spikes,” said Greg Gelzinnis, head of the Drug Free Alton Coalition. “This is not your father’s heroin.”

Last November troopers in Missouri stopped a minivan about two hours south of St. Louis and recovered nearly five pounds of fentanyl, a drug one hundred times stronger than morphine and often mixed with heroin.

Alton resident Robert Jackson says in fighting the heroin epidemic, he believes more effort needs to be made to cut off the sources.

“With the opioid epidemic in America being what it is, just as strongly as we're going after Isis in Afghanistan we should be destroying poppy fields in Afghanistan,” he said.

With so much uncertainty as to what’s in the heroin, every time the drug is ingested users take a deadly chance.

“They're willing to take their chances and it is literally Russian roulette,” Gelzinnis said. “Not just one bullet in the chamber but probably seven or eight.”

The fentanyl-laced heroin was also said to be sold in St. Louis County.

Alton police are now in the unusual position of telling people not to do drugs, but if you have to…

“We would hope that no one would do illegal drugs, but if you are a person who finds the need to do that, we would ask that you exercise extra caution,” said Officer Emily Hejna with the Alton Police Department. “Right now unfortunately you don't know what you're getting when you put that into your body.”

Recommended for you