Heroin is reaching middle class families
, staff writer for the Boston Globe,
HEROIN, with its sordid paraphernalia, grisly procedures, and criminal aura, was always outside the
cultural mainstream. The bare arm, the tourniquet, the white powder, the blackened spoon. The needle,
the bloody vein. . . we know the images. Dangerous, expensive, lethally addictive, heroin was an inner-
city drug that scared off recreational users. It was a killer.
All this has changed
. Heroin is now so pure that needles aren’t necessary; it can be snorted. It’s
absurdly cheap: a bag costs between $10 and $20. It’s everywhere: at the gas station, behind the
supermarket, in school. And it’s sold by friends, not Tony Soprano.
Cheap, user-friendly, apparently benign, diabolically seductive, heroin has reinvented itself and entered
. And since our mainstream drug users are young, it’s hitting our kids. It’s now in
suburbs and small towns. Across the country heroin is reaching middle-class families that never
thought they’d have to learn about it.
Opiate-related deaths in Massachusetts rose in 2006 to five times their number in 1997. In Brockton,
heroin has been a problem for the last five years. Teenage heroin addiction has also hit Farmingdale,
Long Island; Janesville, Wis.; Glastonbury, Conn.; and Orlando. The heroin problem appears
throughout the heartland.
If this is an epidemic, it’s one we can’t tolerate. The survival rates for an addict who goes into rehab
are slightly lower than 50 percent, according to a study by the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Heroin
is one of the deadliest and most addictive drugs known, and it’s reaching our children.
The middle class is becoming increasingly addict to drugs that are injected
, staff writer for the Observer,
Drug traffickers are targeting middle-class Britons with high-purity heroin that users prefer to smoke
rather than inject, says a new United Nations drug agency report.
Tailoring products to meet the sensitivities of those British users who find injection repulsive will
create a wider market for the drug, warns the International Narcotics Control Board.
'The illicit market operates in a very smart way, selling a drug to a new class of users by telling them,
"Use it in a different way and you won't become addicted",' said Rainer Wolfgang Schmid, a board
'Middle-class users will not inject when they start taking heroin, but when they become addicted,