Heroin Addiction & Use Continued - Part 2

As covered in Part 1 of our 3-part series about heroin addiction, the United States is under the claws of a horrible heroin epidemic, which leaves no city in its path unscathed. This blight has spread into offices, homes, and is steadily infiltrating high schools. This exponential rise in heroin use has spawned crime, as addicts oftentimes steal in order to sustain their habits. In spite of ongoing government efforts in the fight against heroin, it continues to flood the country in previously unheard of quantities. There is every sign pointing to the increasing number of addicts every day.

 

You may be surprised to know that heroin began as a wonder drug, used to cure every ailment and became a very popular medicine on the market. This unrestricted use by physicians degenerated into a gigantic drug disaster and addicts sprung up in every corner of the country and often got arrested for all manners of crimes. New legislation put in place strict measures on the proliferation of heroin and capped the quantity of heroin that could be manufactured annually. This reduction in the quantity of heroin that could be legally manufactured did not do much to curb the use of heroin.

 

Aggressive cartels soon shifted heroin manufacture from legal pharmaceutical plants to underground laboratories in Asia. These clandestine laboratories have continued to supply heroin to American cartels who have had to evolve their tactics to evade security personnel and also to hook their clientele.

 

These cartels have become wary of an enlightened populace who are informed on the effects of heroin. To deceive the public, they have invented enticing names like 'chasing the dragon' which is basically a unique sense of branding. Giving heroin such an attractive name means that individuals who are wary of heroin use it without really knowing it. Heroin is passed off as a designer drug to an unsuspecting population who get hooked within no time.

 

Designer drugs gained popularity as laboratory gimmicks of banned drugs. Coming at a time when a substance was either banned or not banned by the Controlled Substances act, they were technically legal. This loophole made them very available to the public who have always deemed them as safer alternatives. With this mentality, re-branding heroin as a designer drug fools users who only need to read labels to get swayed.

 

As time passes, business becomes so good that cartel bosses deal in bulk quantities of pure heroin of up to a hundred kilos. For such shipments, they normally advance up to $30,000 per kilo in hard currency. When the shipment is received, it divided into lots of about five kilos to the cartel underlings. Lower ranking cartel members then dilute the heroin by over fifty percent and pass it on to four distributors. As the heroin is passed down, the process of dilution is continued until it ends up in an addicts hands at five percent purity. Its street value also increases over ten times to approximately $310,000 per kilo.

 

The problem in this vicious dilution process is that the additives used to dilute the heroin are not suitable for the human body and may feel more at home in a chemical dump site. Common substitutions for heroin come from the fentanyls group of designer drugs which look and work like heroin, but are up to a thousand times stronger. They are deadly and dangerous even in the smallest amounts. However, these drugs are almost identical to heroin in that they only last for approximately two hours. Taking only a few crystals of this substitute can cause an overdose and subsequently cause death. This dangerous potency makes it impossible to quantify their safe amounts.

 

A common addictive substitute for heroin known as Oxycontin has undergone a radical overhaul in its manufacturing process. The Food and Drug Administration only permits it to be sold as tamper resistant medication, so manufacturers have had to do a comprehensive reformulation. These new rules and regulations have ensured that it gets out of the reach of addicts. This vacuum has been filled by heroin.

 

A study carried in Cincinnati has documented that heroin is readily available that its availability has been reported as 10 on a scale of zero to ten. Mexican brown powdered heroin has been listed as the most available. In contrast, participants in the rural parts of Cincinnati listed black tar heroin as the most available. This availability coupled with aggressive marketing under the label "chasing the dragon' has contributed to increasing levels of addiction.

 

Generally, heroin use is on the rise and celebrities have also been affected. Citing the recent demise of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman who is suspected of taking a fatal overdose of heroin, the use of this drug has soared over the last ten years. The late actor is believed to have injected a lethal combination of fentanyl and heroin which has been blamed for hundreds of deaths in January alone.

 

Mr. Hoffman was found unconscious and unresponsive and was declared dead by emergency workers on arrival. Heroin has gained popularity because it is relatively more affordable then Oxycontin, which costs up to $100 per 80 milligram pill, while heroine costs only $60 for a supply that can last for multiple doses. The decline of Oxycontin has also been attributed to its reformulation which has made it almost impossible to crush and snort.

 

With such statistics on heroin use today, substance abuse professionals and law enforcement agencies are as busy as ever trying to crack down on its use and provide assistance for those who want to quit.  Heroin is extremely addictive and almost always requires professional help to stop using and stay clean.  Many heroin users attend detox and rehab centers, which are highly recommended by professionals, as the addict is surrounded by trained staff and a safe environment, giving them ample opportunity to get free from heroin.

 

About the Author: Dominica Applegate is an Author, and Speaker and Life Coach. She has a deep passion for discovering and sharing authentic spiritual truth that transforms people from the inside out. She is dedicated to the sacred art of self-discovery, creative expression, and adding value to humanity. Feel free to connect with her at Dominica Applegate and receive her free eBook, Recycle Pain: It Has a Purpose, and Help for Codependency.

 

Image: Flickr

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