Powerful, Cheap Heroin Hits the Well-to-Do Las Vegas Suburbs


Meet the new “typical” heroin addict: young, middle-class, maybe with a pool out back, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Clean-cut Cameron knows his addiction will come as a surprise to many. He’s from a well-connected local family; his father is a lobbyist. “This doesn’t look like a place a heroin addict would live,” he says in his family’s four-bedroom home across from a golf course. “But heroin is everywhere,” Cameron says. “It really hit this town. “

Law enforcement officials and those who treat addicts say more suburban kids are getting hooked on the cheap, powerful opiate, mirroring a national trend. Heroin dealers are targeting middle America, a lucrative market. Young users often choose heroin because prescription opiates like OxyContin are harder to get and expensive. “The kids raid the medicine cabinet,” says Paul Rozario of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “When those pills aren’t there anymore, they look for alternatives. It’s a bad situation all around.” On the street, users pay up to $40 a pill for prescription opiates. A single dose of heroin goes for about $10. Officials have been seizing record amounts of heroin and methamphetamine. Las Vegas may have become a “staging area” for dealers who then transport the drugs to other Western cities.

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