One 18-year-old Valley woman spread the curse of heroin from the streets of Payson into the Gila County Jail where she was charged with “promoting prison contraband” on March 10.
Syndee Lain Klabbatz allegedly smuggled black tar heroin into the jail on the evening of March 10, according to a release by the Gila County Drug, Gang and Violent Crimes Task Force. The task force arrested several inmates in connection with the case.
Chief Don Engler said Klabbatz had smuggled in the heroin using orifices on her body. The Payson Police Department (PPD) had handed Klabbatz over to the Gila County Jail after executing a search warrant that revealed she had the remains of a black substance in tin foil, a syringe and spoon on her person walking around the streets of Payson. However, the Payson officers didn’t find the stash of the drug she had hidden inside herself.
“Both men and women are doing it now,” Engler said of smuggling heroin inside body cavities.
Engler said the amount of heroin on the streets of Payson has increased.
“In the past 10 months, the Payson Fire Department has resuscitated seven people and we’ve had one death,” he said.
However, the Centers for Disease Control reports that the number of deaths caused by opiate-based prescription painkillers such as Oxycodone has far outpaced heroin deaths nationally.
In the past decade, deaths from prescription opioids have increased from 4,000 to 16,000 while deaths from heroin have increased from 2,000 to 3,000, said a CDC report.
However, heroin use has doubled in recent years, according to a report done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Engler said he has found users in Payson range from 15 to 27 years in age, but SAMHSA said the number of young people who admitted to using heroin has remained consistent.
Engler said Payson police got control of heroin in the ’80s, but its use has returned. Other media outlets report increased heroin use in the Midwest and border states to Mexico.
Klabbatz, reportedly from Cave Creek, came to the attention of police after informants told officers she was selling heroin in Payson.
Payson police got a warrant to stop her and found a spoon, syringe, a folded piece of tin foil and a black and white tube, which Klabbatz called a “tooter.”
She also had a little blue book with entries and her cell phone showed she’d contacted Payson residents since arriving in town the day before.
She denied having any heroin on her person. And a search at the police department uncovered none. She admitted she had just come from rehab in Phoenix and started using when she got to Payson. She also admitted selling heroin to two subjects in Rumsey Park.
By March 10, while in jail, Klabbatz had removed the heroin from her body cavity and shared it with six other inmates. Deputies charged all of them with possession and use of a narcotic drug in jail.
Deaths from drugs 2000 – 2010
Year Opioids Sedatives Heroin Cocaine
2000 4,400 1,298 1,842 3,544
2001 5,528 1,594 1,779 3,544
2002 7,456 2,022 2,089 4,599
2003 8,517 2,248 2,080 5,199
2004 9,857 2,627 1,878 5,443
2005 10,928 3,084 2,009 6,208
2006 13,723 3,835 2,088 7,448
2007 14,408 4,500 2,399 6,512
2008 14,800 5,010 3,041 5,129
2009 15,597 5,567 3,278 4,350
2010 16,651 6,497 3,036 4,183
Source: Centers for Disease Control