The Northeast Heroin Epidemic

northeastLaw enforcement in the northeast has observed a growing number of heroin cases in the past few years. Grown from the opium plant, which is indigenous to the Middle East, South American and Asian countries, heroin is becoming responsible for a rising number of overdose deaths. The drug has begun to cross socioeconomic boundaries, meaning not just the lower-class are susceptible to falling victim to addiction.

In Minnesota, several counties have noticed a dangerous trend in regards to heroin. In the past three years, Anoka County has had 30 overdose-related deaths. Washington County has noted five heroin or methadone – a medication prescribed to get people off of heroin – overdoses, as well as an increase of heroin-related crimes. Law enforcement officials state that the increase of reports taken in their jurisdictions indicates that heroin is becoming more and more popular on the streets.

The depressant comes in two forms most commonly: a white powder and a dark tar. Both are usually melted down into liquid and injected into the bloodstream. Not much of the drug is carried at one time, making it very easy to hide and difficult to control. However, there have been notable trends. For instance, law enforcement have come to the conclusion that the problem exists more with the younger generation – high schoolers and young adults. The increase of heroin addicts could be related to a similar opioid prescription drug addiction. Most addictions to heroin began as an opioid problem developed from the household medicine cabinets. The increase of pricing for prescription medication makes obtaining them too expensive, so heroin is used as a substitute. However, law enforcement officials in the area have seen an increase of trafficking into the counties through interstate highways. Many of the heroin busts come from drug dealers transporting the drug back and forth in their cars. When they get into the city, drug dealers have been bold enough to deliver heroin to people’s homes. Communities are keeping their eyes open and reporting to law enforcement when they see a noticeable issue, which is what police need to crack down on the mobile dealers. But even police know that higher arrests are not going to solve the drug issues. Increased education on the effects of heroin, cooperation between communities, and a sole goal within them are the ways the area will rid themselves of the heroin epidemic.

New England Sees Increase in Heroin Overdoses

Proving that status is no factor, parts of New England are noting an increase in heroin lately. Some official argue that it is easier to get a delivery of heroin in certain parts than it is to get a UPS box. So high is the use that warning posters in Portland, ME tell users not to use alone and to use recovery position to prevent from choking on one’s own vomit from an overdose. 21 people were killed in Maine last year due to heroin overdose, three times as much as the previous. In Vermont, 914 people were treated for heroin-related abuse, and 40 deaths were recorded in New Hampshire. Restrictions on painkiller prescriptions are the main points in why heroin is such a problem in New England. In response to an over prescription of pharmaceuticals, doctors are regulated in how many pain pills they can script, causing many people to turn toward the cheaper and effective substitute, heroin. Supply and demand are also a factor, said law officials in the New England area. New York drug dealers have turned their products to the northern area of the country. A $10 bag of heroin in New York can be sold for as high as $40 in Maine – the same bag. And if the heroin provided is higher in grade, the addiction can hit a community rapidly. A quarter of people who try heroin become addicted to it, making heroin one of the most addictive illicit drugs in the world. Now officials in New England brace themselves for the inevitable consequences of a community of addicts and search for a way to turn the tides of the drug war.

References:

Quad Community Press – http://www.presspubs.com/quad/news/article_80edae0a-7240-11e3-8b23-001a4bcf887a.html

New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/19/us/heroin-in-new-england-more-abundant-and-deadly.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1

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