2009/2010 are known as the years that heroin skyrocketed. A “perfect storm” of factors including lawless poppy growing in Afghanistan and the OxyContin addiction epidemic in the United States have combined to create an environment where heroin abuse is rampant throughout the U.S.
There is a returning worry on America’s streets and it has to do with a familiar, highly addictive illicit drug. Heroin is getting cheaper, purer, and the supply is rising. This has police concerned, as it could mean more new users, higher incidences of overdose, and more crime. It could also mean a spread of the drug to high schools, attracting younger users.
Emergence of Purer, Cheaper Heroin
Four people died and even more became ill in Connecticut around a decade ago after a strong, potent, and powerful grade of heroin blanketed the streets. This heroin was purer than the kind that came before it. Police in the area are now worried that a repeat is emerging. They are seeing and seizing more and more of the drug. What they are discovering is that heroin is now twice as pure as before and prices are lower.
It is not just happening in Connecticut. It is quickly spreading throughout the country. Reports out of Minnesota show that police warned citizens in Minneapolis-St.Paul of increased heroin purity. They are seeing an increasing number of heroin related deaths, with younger users starting to abuse the drug. This could hint at a new, nationwide heroin problem.
The Emerging Danger
Traditionally in Connecticut, the price of heroin has been between $20 and $25 per bag. Today, the cost for each bag is about $8 and can be had in some areas for as low as $2 to $3 each. Average addicts consume five to ten bags a day while heavy addicts require as many as 15 bags.
More important than the fall in price is the increase in purity. Heroin purity typically ranges in the 17-20% range. The heroin that police are now seeing in the streets has about a 40% purity rate. This is significant because those who use heroin are used to consuming a certain amount of it. Now, less is needed for the same effect due to higher purity, but that is unbeknownst to them. This may easily lead to overdose. Those new to heroin or are experimenting for the first time will also encounter overdose more easily due to the increased purity.
For a while, prescription drug pain killers like Vicodin and OxyContin posed an imminent danger. However, as doctors and authorities cracked down on prescription drug abuse, they became harder to get. Since users were unable to acquire those drugs, some addicts turned to heroin, a drug that is virtually identical, as a substitute.
Worry of Spread to Teens
What has police concerned the most is the fear of heroin spreading to high schools. Why do they believe this is a troublesome issue? The cheap cost makes the drug more appealing to kids. The higher supply makes it more easily available. These facts coupled with the stronger, higher potency of the drug makes it especially dangerous.
Younger users may be more willing to use the drug because it can be snorted. Snorting eliminates the stigma associated with having to inject using syringes and searching for veins. Needle marks would not be found, removing superficial identification of heroin usage. They have less of a feeling that what they are doing is that bad for them.
Damage to the Public and to You
As a society, increased heroin use goes directly hand in hand with an increase in the crime level, specifically burglaries, robberies, and violent assault. Police report that most of the burglaries they encounter are drug related. Heroin use also affects the user’s family, friends, and loved ones. They suffer from worry, fractured relationships, and self-blame.
Accidental overdose is a growing concern with the reports of increased purity. Since there is no way to know the purity level of the heroin you are purchasing, the risk is great and unknown. The drug you are consuming may be twice as powerful as the one you took before. Contact us today to have all of your questions answered, and start on the road to a life free of heroin addiction.