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Monday, October 10, 2011

Ohio and Heroin



News: Heroin Revival in Ohio

The heroin revival, 
said Drug Enforcement Agent agent Anthony Marotta of Detroit,
"is being driven by prescription pills." 
With oxycontin or "OC" pills fetching $80 apiece on the black market,
"people can't afford $300 a day so they're paying $15 to $20 bucks a balloon [of heroin]." 

(Paul Solman & Kelly Chen & Sarah Svoboda, 
"Getting High For Less: Easier Access to Better, Cheaper Heroin Cripples Small Towns," www.pbs.org/newshour, August 18 2011)

Cheaper Than Rx

As agent Marotta points out, for just $15 to $20, users can purchase a small "balloon-full" of approximately a tenth of a gram of Mexican black tar heroin to get a high equivalent to half an 80 mg opioid pill -- some $40 worth.

The Department of Justice calculates that "abusers could maintain their addiction with two grams of heroin daily, at a cost of one-third to one-half of prescription opioids, depending on the area of the country and the purity of that heroin."

In other words, heroin has become a down-market alternative -- an increasingly attractive one in battered economies like Crawford's. And the declining market price of black tar heroin has made the drug more popular among the young, further fueling its spread.

Black tar dealers employ what is referred to as
a "Pizza Hut/Domino" delivery model. 
After a phone order, dealers will come to you 
at your preferred drop-off location -- 
be it at home or an undisclosed parking lot. 
After the hand-off is complete, 
the dealer follows up with a phone call to ensure users received a satisfactory high. 
Simplifying the transaction also keeps it inconspicuous, 
a consumer benefit in quiet suburban communities.

(Paul Solman & Kelly Chen & Sarah Svoboda, 
"Getting High For Less: Easier Access to Better, Cheaper Heroin Cripples Small Towns," www.pbs.org/newshour, August 18 2011)

Personalized selling has helped black tar heroin dealers nurture a steady clientele; first-time customers, pleased with the quality and service, come back for more of a product they increasingly can't resist.
The entrepreneurial spirit of the black tar heroin market, in the United States and in Mexico, has further facilitated the chain of Mexican black tar sources largely operated out of Mexico's Pacific Coast, more than 1,000 miles away from the border.

In Nayarit, Xalisco, producers have easy access to poppy seed production. Together, producers and farmers tightly control the supply of black tar heroin by limiting the quantity of production. Unlike drug cartels along the border, these cells operate in small franchise networks without the fuss of the middlemen.

From Mexico, runners transport the drug to the East Coast either by plane from Phoenix or Los Angeles to Columbus or by car over the southwest border -- again to Columbus and Charlotte, N.C.

From these hubs, local dealers can dispense to smaller towns and cover the country.

"Charlotte and Columbus are important crossroads that connect the East and West, North and South...the hub of the spoke system, which then subdivides into secondary and tertiary places," said Eric Olson at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Mexico Institute.

As Anthony Marotta points out, the Buckeye State is not known as a drug entrepot (warehouse).

"This is Ohio we're talking about, not Miami," said Marotta. 
And yet, "Columbus is not only an end for this stuff 
but a [trafficking] source for the supply of other places." 

(Paul Solman & Kelly Chen & Sarah Svoboda, 
"Getting High For Less: Easier Access to Better, Cheaper Heroin Cripples Small Towns," www.pbs.org/newshour, August 18 2011)

Younger Clientele

"We are seeing a trend toward younger and younger people experimenting with heroin," said Dr. Gregory Collins, director of the Cleveland Clinic Alcohol and Drug Recovery Center. "They are moving from alcohol to marijuana and then heroin. It's a quick progression. Sometimes there's a brief interlude with pain pills."
("Heroin Linked to Ohio Prescription Drug Problems," Associated Press, nbc4i.com, February 21 2011)

Some people start abusing the seemingly more palatable pills and quickly transition to the more hard-core and cheaper heroin, once addiction takes hold.

"Young users with a low tolerance 
for the potent drug are especially 
at risk of death," Collins said.

(Rachel Dissell, 
"Overdose deaths Climb As Painkillers, Heroin Pour Into Ohio Market,"  
Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 20 2011)

Crack Cocaine Dealers Switching To Heroin

In a report by the Ohio Department of Drug and Alcohol Addiction Services, law enforcement officials said the heroin business is increasingly being run by Mexican drug cartels that find demand shooting up because people hooked on prescription painkillers are switching to more powerful drugs. In addition, crack cocaine dealers are switching to selling heroin, the report said.

(Alan Johnson, "Heroin Habit Grows Among Ohio's Youth,"  
The Columbus Dispatch, April 23 2011)


Snorting Higher Quality Heroin

"Much of the increase in heroin trade 
is attributed to higher quality heroin 
which makes it easier for dealers to turn a profit," 
said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Pinjuh. 

Purer grades of heroin can be cut and repackaged into more lots for resale. Pinjuh said the growing success of Mexican drug operations in pushing drugs into the United States has also contributed to the increased supply of heroin.

Another factor fueling demand for heroin is that dealers are turning it into a form that can be snorted, an easier and less intimidating way of ingesting than injection by needle.

(Peter Krouse, 
"Heroin Bust Points To Drug's Growing Popularity In Northeast Ohio,"  
Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 13 2011)

Heroin In the Southern Suburbs

Orman Hall with the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Addiction Services said that heroin is a growing problem in Ohio, and it's not just in big cities. "The opiate and heroin problem we currently have in our state is centered in the southern part of the state in rural and suburban communities," said Hall.

 ("Heroin Bust Takes Down Major Distributor,"  
www.onntv.com, August 18 2011)

Professionals and Business Execs Choosing Heroin

Opiates, including heroin, are quickly becoming the drug of choice for many people, including some pillars of the community."We're seeing business professionals, business executives, housewives, college students," said Dr. Jeffrey Stuckert, of Northland Outpatient Rehab and The Ridge Residential Rehab and Treatment Center.

"There's certainly a problem with doctors, pharmacists, nurses. 
It knows no socioeconomic boundaries."

("Professionals Among New Faces of Heroin Addiction," 
News 5, wlwt.com
May 25 2011)

Billboard Asks "Do You Know Where Your Heroin Has Been?"

An Ohio family services organization has one question for heroin users: Do you know where your heroin has been? An eye-catching billboard sponsored by Hardin County Jobs and Family Services has turned heads with its honest - and slightly disgusting message to potential or current drug users. Here is the message:

Summer 2009, Police arrested a Kenton Man
with over 900 balloons of Heroin Up his Butt
"Where has your heroin been?"

(Nina Mandell, 
"Ohio Anti-drug Billboard Sparks Controversy with Message About Heroin's Long Journey to Users,"  
New York Daily News
May 21 2011)

Heroin Abuse Fuels the Need For Foster Parents

"Clermont County is critically in need of foster parents," said Tim Dick.  In 2010, the Clermont County Department of Job and Family Services’ (DJFS) Children’s Protective Services (CPS) division removed 235 children from homes, because of abuse or neglect; that is a 51 percent increase over 2009.

Heroin abuse has had a big impact on this situation," said CPS Deputy Director Tim Dick.

“Too many times law enforcement 
has called our staff to the scene 
where a parent has overdosed 
and the child was there to see it, 
living in filthy conditions.  

There have even been cases 
where the child has pricked himself
with a heroin needle he picked up at his home 
or ingested prescription drugs that had been obtained illegally.  
It is sad.”

("Heroin Abuse Has Big Impact On Local Child Abuse Cases,"  
Loveland Magazine
January 31 201)

Chasing the Dragon Surge

They call it: ''Chasing the dragon.''

Although it might seem like some magical image 
from a Harry Potter movie, authorities in Summit County
say it's a deadly catch phrase for a growing number of heroin users
who cannot resist, or stop, taking the drug.

Heroin use in the area has risen to such an alarming extent, Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa J. Kohler recently released fatality statistics showing that the number of heroin-related deaths this year through mid-October is nearly double the total from last year.

Kohler reported 20 heroin-related deaths in 2010, compared to 11 for all of 2009, when she began tracking the numbers and types of cases for drugs that can kill.

The heroin surge, Kohler said, partly can be attributed to users abandoning the age-old method of directly injecting the drug into the bloodstream with a needle in favor of inhaling the drug by smoking it.

(Ed Meyer, 
"Summit County Officials Report Alarming Surge in Heroin Deaths,"  
Beacon Journal - ohio.com/news
November 5 2010)

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