Heroin has gained popularity across the nation. Along with use, drug trafficking has become an epidemic in the streets. Cartels from Mexico are penetrating the national safety of America all over the country, including states like Florida, Chicago, and Texas. But the reasons people turn to heroin has changed from the reasons in the 80s.
Heroin, a Prescribed Medication
Heroin is no longer the high-class drug of the street. In the 80s, a bag of heroin used to cost $50. Now, a bag is available for $5-$10, according to law enforcement, current and former heroin users. It comes into the country from Mexico with a 90 percent purity rating and by the time it hits the streets it is reduced to 12 percent with the cutting and additives added to it. Yet heroin traffickers still make a sizeable amount of money. What is the appeal with heroin?
Heroin is an opiate. Various forms of opiates have been prescribed as pain killers. Vicodin and Oxy Contin, most popular for people who have undergone surgical procedures, are opioids prescribed by doctors. The problem with opioids is they have a high likelihood for abuse and addiction, and American society was made aware of this. To compromise, the coverage of prescription medications changed. Prices increased and filtered out those who were of a lower socioeconomic status. In the grip of addiction, these people turned to a new source: heroin. The effects of the drug are similar to prescribed opiates. As several recent graduates from Narconon Arrowhead said in their exit interviews, heroin is a cheaper, more effective method for opioid addiction. Knowledge of this spread throughout the streets, and soon suburban neighborhoods saw an increase in heroin even among the wealthy.
Like drugs in general, heroin is used because it works. It does what people expect it to do, whether that be to feel euphoria to escape the stresses of the world, relieve pain, or keep up a habit, the chemicals in heroin will have the desired effect. Finally, users who become addicted to heroin are more likely to pursue the drug rather than seek help.
Drug Trafficking in Chicago
Illicit drugs have cost the country billions in expenses. Between health care, emergency room visits, drug rehabilitation centers, and other expenses, heroin has rung up a sizeable bill. Chicago has become a major trafficking hub in the United States. Mexican drug cartels ship heroin up to Chicago because of its centralized location and distribution throughout the Midwest is easier done through the major metropolitan city. “It’s really clear to us that Sinaloa really controls 70-80 percent of the narcotics in and out of Chicago and thus the Midwest,” said Jack Riley, an agent in Chicago’s Drug Enforcement Agency.
Public enemy #1 in Chicago is the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, El Capo Guzman, the city’s most powerful drug trafficker. Riley, who had worked previous Drug Enforcement Agency cartels in the southern United States, said that Sinaloa’s ability to produce heroin is directly connected to their strong focus on manufacturing and trafficking it. “If you look into Mexico, you’re seeing them really fortify their ability to produce high-quality poppies and in turn produce heroin on their own. That’s something we hadn’t seen up until the last few years.” The most contributing factor in Chicago’s drug problem is one of the five reasons it is such a problem in this country: it’s available at cheap prices. Though Chicago is stricter than most, trafficking laws are not harsh enough to discourage the crime. But ending the trafficking activity in Chicago is impossible at this point, according to state officials. “I don’t think that law enforcement is going to fix the narcotics problem in this country. And many people would say that’s blasphemy, but I think it’s reality,” Supt. Garry McCarthy said.”…What I’m trying to do is stop getting people killed on the street corners in the city of Chicago.”
National Institute on Drug Abuse – http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin-abuse-addiction