“I’m seeing a lot, lot more heroin,” said Jamie Guilfoy, an Indianapolis police narcotics detective since 2001. “I never saw any up until the last year.” The Indianapolis Star says that police in the city confiscated nearly 1,000 grams — about 2.2 pounds — of heroin this year, more than 10 times what they seized in 2005. Indiana State Police project they will investigate close to 700 heroin cases this year, twice as many as last year and three times as many as in 2004. A recent Indiana University survey found that 2.2 percent of Indiana high school seniors have tried intravenous drugs — a 25 percent jump from the previous year. The needle is the preferred method of heroin users.
The trend is nationwide, with cities such as Minneapolis; Dallas; Covington, Ky.; and Salt Lake City also reporting heroin upswings. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has confiscated heroin in slightly declining amounts the past two years, but from 2001 to 2005, seizures were up more than 50 percent compared with the previous five years. Said a U.S. Justice Department study released last week, the 2007 National Drug Threat Assessment: “Although overall abuse levels for heroin are lower than levels for other drugs, including cocaine and marijuana, the consequences of heroin abuse are far-reaching in terms of heroin-related deaths, treatment admissions and emergency department mentions.” A typical heroin user takes three or four hits a day, costing $60 to $80. Veteran junkies build up a tolerance to the drug, so $200-plus-a-day habits aren’t unheard of.