Most of us remember “heroin” from back in the day. In the 70’s and 80’s it was considered one of the most potent drugs on the black market. If you took it you usually got hooked and getting off the nasty stuff was very difficult.
Well don’t look now, but heroin is making a huge comeback. No longer in just the big cities, the drug that is responsible for so many fatalities, is now in our own backyard. It is called our community’s dirty little secret. A secret because no one wants to talk about it because it has such a negative stigma, but it exists on many street corners in our area.
It was just reported yesterday that a Mt. Pleasant fatality that occurred a couple months ago is blamed on a heroin overdose. The same is true in rural Beulah where a girlfriend is being charged in the death of her boyfriend who overdosed on heroin.
I listened to Defense Attorney Dwight Carpenter talk about it a few months ago on a radio program. The Clare attorney said we wouldn’t believe how many teens and young adults are hooked on heroin in Mt. Pleasant. He represents several who have been charged with the illegal booty. Of course, with 20,000 students on any given day in MP, there are all types of drug problems including a proliferation of prescription drugs, but heroin is taking over.
I talked to a girl recently I will identify only as “Amy” who is in a rehab facility trying to get her life straight in northern Michigan. She affirmed what Carpenter had to say. In fact she told me “heroin is easier to purchase than marijuana” in Traverse City, Cadillac and other Northern Michigan cities.
She further explained it’s all about the money. Heroin now costs much less than cocaine or any other drug including hydrocodone and oxycodone, with the exception of marijuana. Even so, traffickers from Detroit and Chicago find central and northern Michigan to be terrific areas to sell their wares.
“They can buy it in Detroit for $60 a gram, and turn around and sell it up here for $150 a gram. I in turn, she said, can turn around and sell it to a user for much more than that. Everybody’s making a pile of money.”
An average dose of heroin is 1/10 of a gram and sells for about $25 in our communities. Imagine if Amy is buying a gram for $150, and selling one-tenth of it for $25, she is making $100 on every gram she sells.
Rich Isaacson a special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Detroit said people are turning to heroin because the cost of prescription drugs is becoming too high. “Across the country, people addicted to opiate painkillers frequently can’t afford their addiction, and they’re starting to use heroin.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says heroin users have more than doubled since 2007. Increasingly those addicted to prescription drugs or meth are turning to heroin because it is cheap and available whether you’re in Detroit or Harrison.
First it was meth, then bath salts, and now the drug of choice is heroin. I’m not implying meth is not out there, it is, still in great numbers. And the abuse of prescription drugs is still a prolific problem. But more and more, we are hearing about the comeback drug- that nasty, most-addictive inner city drug called heroin.
It’s no longer a “dirty little secret.” It’s here and we need to make sure we educate our children and young adults about it. A heroin addict spends each day looking for his next fix. It is extremely difficult to kick, and occasionally leads to death. It is the last drug we want to see being ingested by our youth. Say “no” if you have the opportunity.