Families of children who have died of a heroin overdose say it is easier for teens to obtain heroin than for them to get beer. Unfortunately John Gilbride, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s New York Field Division, agrees. He says today a bag of heroin is easily accessible to teens and is cheaper than a six-pack of beer. Teens are smoking it in joints, blunts, snorting it and overdosing more because they are getting hooked much quicker.
According to officials of law enforcement, a small one-dose bag of heroin ranges between $5 and $10. It is less expensive than highly controlled synthetic opiates such as Hydrocodone or Oxycontin. Not only is this heroin cheap, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center, it is also more deadly than ever before. In times past when heroin was simply a “street” drug it was less than 10 percent pure. Today it can exceed a rate of 70 percent purity grade. Too often teens try this superior grade once and never have the opportunity to try it again, says Gilbride.
Wayne O’Connell, Managing Director of the Long Island’s division of the Daytop drug treatment program outreach center, says his department is seeing teenagers as young as 13-years-old using this dangerous drug. Heroin is luring to middle-class teens because they don’t experience the same stigma associated with an IV heroin user as a result this new generation fails to see the danger or threat of heroin use.
A quick fix or heroin high is less than a six-pack of beer or bottle of wine. It has become a favorite for many who are in search of pain relief, whether mental or physical. Heroin users no longer look like a street thug; they now come in the form of middle to upper class teenagers. The celebrity stories may make the headlines but heroin usage is flooding area high schools. There are literally thousands of young people who snort, smoke or inject this deadly drug on a daily basis.
New federal laws have made prescription pain killing drugs harder to obtain and it now has become, not only cheaper, but easier to purchase a $10 bag of heroin. Many of today’s youth who loved the high they would get after raiding their parent’s medicine cabinet have now turned to heroin and quickly become addicts. These young people have no way of really knowing the potency or what may have been mixed in with the drugs they purchase.
A common cause in more recent heroin overdose cases is the addition of fentanyl. Many users have purchased heroin which was spiked with fentanyl, without knowing. Fentanyl is a powerful narcotic that is given to people is chronic pain. Many terminal cancer patients are given this drug and it is also used as an anesthetic. Fentanyl is said to be 80 times stronger than morphine and can cause death by inhibiting a person’s breathing.
Drug dealers push this mixture as giving a super high but what they fail to mention is that it is lethal. The drug fentanyl is so potent that just a small amount can be fatal. A tiny amount renders a very significant effect and users typically have no idea how much is mixed in.
Heroin is killing people by the droves and the youth are no exception. A bag of heroin has become easily accessible to teens; it is now cheaper than a six-pack of beer or bottle of wine. Teens are smoking it in joints, blunts, snorting it and overdosing more because they are getting hooked much quicker than generations past.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)