Until you get out and see for yourself or listen to people share their experience, you may not know the impact of heroin addiction in your neighborhood. The prevalence of heroin addiction globally is taking a new dimension. Currently heroin and other substance abuse are no longer drugs associated with the city centers but the net is widening even in to the local estates and neighborhoods. In the previous article we doctor Akoury shared with us the story of a young man named Felix and how he was progressively lured into drugs. From a simple experiment Felix was introduced to legal medications like the painkillers and before he knew he was an addict. In this article we are going to further on that discussion by focusing on some of the experiences other people have had an opportunity to witness. There are a lot of recordings that give us a clear picture of the prevalence of heroin addiction globally. Take for example according to recent report “Donna Holaday looks out the window of her city hall office in Newburyport, an affluent coastal city 37 miles north of Boston. Ms. Holaday has been mayor of the town the past four years and was recently reelected. Over that time, she has seen her share of municipal concerns come across her busy desk. But few have been as worrying as the growing use of heroin in her idyllic community.”
Although she knew of the drug’s presence in the city, the report continues, Holaday says that it wasn’t until police reports started surfacing and concerned residents began showing up in her office that she understood the depth of the problem and the emotional anguish it was causing. She continues to narrate that “I had a mother sitting in my office crying, telling me her story about how she pulled her son out of a trailer, just over the border in New Hampshire, and [how] he would have died [if she hadn’t intervened],” she says.
As if that was not enough other local parents also told her about finding needles and syringes in the leafy playgrounds where their children romped. Addicts were seen “shooting up” on the city’s Clipper City Rail Trail, a scenic biking and jogging path. Newburyport Police Marshal Thomas Howard says his department has responded to more than a dozen heroin overdoses in the past months. Without the use of Narcan, an overdose reversal drug, he says the number of deaths in the area “would be skyrocketing.”
The Prevalence of Heroin Addiction Globally: The trend of Heroin is affecting even the once drug Free states
Ideally, Newburyport isn’t the kind of town you’d expect to have any heroin footprint at all. It is one of those communities that seem to have everything including; beauty, wealth, a vibrant arts culture, and an enviable location. Straddling the banks of the Merrimack River and its outlet to the Atlantic Ocean, Newburyport has a storied seafaring heritage that is visible at every salt-scented turn.
Its harbor once bustled with clipper ships from around the world. The city’s High Street is a showcase of imposing Federal-style homes that trace their lineage to sea captains and speculators who plied the waters of the West Indies, trading molasses for rum in the 1700s. These same homes, once maintained by black and native American slaves, later became a means of escape as part of the Underground Railroad.
Now this city is trying to end a different kind of slavery. Mr. Pettigrew, of the DEA, lives in Newburyport. As a member of the agency’s regional office, he and his fellow agents track where the drugs flowing into New England are coming from – a trail that usually leads to cartels in Colombia and Mexico and the story continues in our next article
While heroin has always been available in the region, what’s changed recently is the purity of the drugs on the street. Pettigrew notes that the heroin that addicts used to shoot up with was 2 or 3 percent pure. Today, the street purity of the drug can be as high as 80 percent.
That potency helps explain both the drug’s wider appeal and its new danger. Heroin once had to be injected for users to get the high they were looking to achieve, but it is now concentrated enough that they can smoke or snort it to get a similar effect – methods that make heroin easier for people like Felix to use it without feeling like a junkie. The higher purity is also more likely to trigger an overdose for those who do inject it.
Like everything else, you’re trying to sell your product, so [dealers are] trying to pitch it as a more potent drug for you to take and get high off of.
Stronger heroin is only one reason behind the nation’s growing addiction problem. The other – and more prevalent cause, say police and medical experts – is the nation’s pill culture.
Felix’s route to addiction is a familiar one, according to addicts: a progression from alcohol to marijuana to painkillers to heroin. There are variations on that theme: a sports injury and a prescription for opioids that goes on far longer than it should; a peek inside the family medicine cabinet to find a trove of prescription pills – such as Percocet, OxyContin, Vicodin, codeine – that can be used as recreational drugs.
Often the introduction comes through friends who want to share a high they have discovered. Or it happens at a college party where a variety of drugs are being offered.
Finally irrespective of how this scourge begun the common denominator is that, it usually takes the same impulsive route. And once hooked, users look for doctors who will sell them prescription drugs, and when that fails, desperation sets in and the only available option is in the street. The painkiller drugs are often accessible to the street at an average cost. The condition will continue to deteriorate as sources of income gets depleted. When they can no longer finance their habits they turn to the very last resort which is fairly affordable and provide the same or better result than the painkillers. The most accessible in this case is the heroin which is much cheaper compared to other drugs we have mentioned.