Heroin Problem Grows In Affluent Cleveland Suburbs

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In the Cleveland suburb of Medina, Amy Sonego and her boyfriend Joseph Ward bought toy pistols at Super Kmart and robbed a Christian store. They chose their target not through careful planning, but desperation over a heroin habit, the Cleveland Plain Dealer says.

Ward had recently inherited $70,000 from his father, but the two had spent almost all of it on heroin. The powdery drug is a growing problem in Medina among relatively affluent, mostly white suburban kids, said Frederick Wolk, agent in charge of the Medina County Drug Task Force. “I don’t know if it’s because it’s less expensive or because it’s chic,” he said. “But once you start using it, you will do anything [to avoid withdrawal]. It makes you desperate and stupid.”

Police blame the drug for breeding big-city crime in smaller towns like Medina, which reported six armed robberies in the first four months of this year, as many as were reported in all of 2002. “All the suburbs within driving distance of Cleveland can say the same thing,” said Chuck DeFelice, director of the MedWay Drug Enforcement Agency, a multicounty drug unit. Many users spend more than $100 a day.

Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman said frustrated parents say their teenage children have stolen their credit cards or forged checks to pay for the drug. “I see it as a public health issue in the sense of the terrible impact that it has on the user and in the danger the user presents to the community,” Holman said. “It’s a very dangerous drug.”

Link: http://www.cleveland.com/medina/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/medina/105601541233410.xml

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