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It's a growing problem that has officials all over Genesee County taking note.

Saginaw Police display heroin they seized as evidence several years ago. The packet at left contains one dose, about one-tenth of a gram of heroin and the bindle, or packet that it was wrapped in. The other two packets contain larger amounts of the drug.

From law enforcement and prosecutors to medical providers and educators, all are taking action to slow the rising tide of heroin abuse among the county's young adults.

Recent statistics from Genesee County Community Mental Health paint a worrisome picture of the habits of some of the county's young people:

In 2011, more people ages 18-29 in Genesee County consider heroin their drug of choice than at any other time in nearly a decade.

According to the statistics, 26.6 percent of the people ages 18-29 admitted into Community Mental Health's publicly-funded substance abuse programs in 2011 said that heroin was their first drug of choice. In 2003, only 4.7 percent of admissions made that claim.

The statistics take into account only those admitted into the publicly funded program and not those who obtain treatment through private insurers or by paying cash.

"A lot of opiate-dependent clients are in their young 20s," said Laura Frelich, outpatient team leader for Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Center in Flint Township.

Sacred Heart is one of three methadone providers in the county, Frelich said. It is also one of the centers contracted by Community Mental Health to treat those admitted to publicly-funded substance abuse programs.

Methadone and other prescriptions drugs like Suboxone are used to help combat heroin addiction while easing withdrawal symptoms.

In 2011, Community Mental Health admitted 1,274 people into its publicly funded substance abuse programs. However, that number does not clearly define how many people are actually turning to Community Mental Health for help.

Kristie Schmiege, director of prevention and health promotion services for Community Mental Health, said funding restraints have forced some patients onto waiting lists for treatment.

"�'' We have waiting lists for our high-end services, including sub-acute detoxification, residential and methadone," Schmiege wrote in an email to The Flint Journal. "There are no waiting lists for standard outpatient treatment."

Schmiege did not have an exact number of how many people are actually on these waiting lists.

Law enforcement, too, has experienced the increase in heroin-related activity.

Michigan State Police Detective Lt. Pat Richard, head of the multi-jurisdictional Flint Area Narcotics Group, said that heroin seizures by his outfit have increased by roughly 30 percent so far this year.

"We're definitely seeing an uptick in it," Richard said. "It just keeps coming in."

FANG has seized about 150 grams of heroin from area streets as of early April, Richard said.

Though it might not sound like much, Richard said heroin is typically sold in one-tenth of a gram doses. That means officers have confiscated nearly 1,500 individual doses so far.

And it's just not the city of Flint that has experienced an increase in heroin use. Richard said the drug has also found its way into the suburbs.

"It's touching off in all parts of the county," Richard said. "It's not just the inner cities, it's not just Flint."