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This post was originally written in September 2013. Since that time, we have seen heroin go from a drug that was starting to show up in unlikely places, to where we are today in the midst of a full-blown epidemic in the United States.
Heroin is making a comeback. It’s been able to advance under a cover of darkness because a significant proportion of the general population subscribes to two schools of opinion.
There are those who think it’s a ghetto thing, and are content to let it stay there.
And there are those who, upon hearing of Glee star Cory Monteith’s tragic heroin overdose, shook their heads in disbelief at the early loss of life and talent but chalked it up to yet another pitfall of choosing to live life in the fast lane of the rich and famous.
But the spike in heroin usage cannot be pinpointed in either the slums of the inner cities nor the mansions of Hollywood. The place to look is the average middle-class suburb.
Heroin in America
According to to an ABC news report, Heroin in America, heroin use has doubled since 2003 with 620,000 people admitting to heroin use in 2011. Mind you, that’s only those who are admitting it. Although this is the case all over the country, it’s the suburbs that are seeing the biggest rise in numbers, and it’s occurring in the teenaged population.
While teens in the 1950s may have snuck into their parents’ liquor cabinets, and 1960s and ’70s youth rolled a joint or two, today’s youth merely have to go into the bathroom. An alarming number start with Valium, oxycodone, or other powerful prescription drugs right there in the medicine cabinet.
When it becomes too difficult to score a pill here or there, they realize they’re hooked, and turn to the black market where they find, believe it or not, that it’s cheaper to score heroin than pills. According to the ABC report, heroin in the suburbs of New Jersey goes for $4 a bag compared to $30 for one 30 milligram oxycodone pill!
Aware of this emerging market, heroin suppliers have established suburban networks, leaving no area immune. New England, despite its image of quaint village squares and seaside fishing towns, is reporting alarming numbers. A New York Times article, “Heroin in New England, More Abundant and Deadly,” reports that in Vermont, 914 people underwent treatment for heroin addiction in 2012, a 40% increase over 2011’s 654.
A Vermont public health specialist sums it all up by saying “It’s easier to get heroin in some of these places than to get a UPS delivery.