Is Mexican Heroin Replacing Painkillers as Youth Drug of Choice?


Mexico’s heroin industry has had a bullish few years, McClatchy Newspapers report. What was once a problem largely confined to hubs in California and Texas, Mexican traffickers have expanded into the Midwest and the Atlantic Seaboard. Using savvy marketing, they’ve repositioned heroin commercially, revamping its image from the inner-city drug of yore, with junkies and needles, into a narcotic that can be snorted or smoked, appealing to suburban and even rural high school youth.

The epidemic abuse of painkillers has ebbed in the United States, and youth now hunger for a cheaper high. “We’ve heard around the country of changes away from prescription drugs, because they are either more expensive or more difficult to obtain, and a movement toward heroin, which is less costly,” said Gil Kerlikowske, White House drug czar. The State Department said in March that Mexico has surpassed Myanmar as the world’s second largest poppy cultivator and produces 7 percent of the world’s heroin, mostly for the U.S. market.

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