With heroin prices falling worldwide because of the unleashing of Afghanistan’s poppy fields, the highly addictive drug has established a foothold in Milwaukee’s suburbs, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Counselors report clients as young as 15 and law enforcement officials say the problem is getting worse. A high school senior, 18, was charged Monday; a girl, 17, died of an overdose two months ago. Heroin has become less expensive since U.S. forces removed the Taliban from power in 2001. The re-emergence of Afghanistan as a major opium exporter has decreased heroin’s price on the world market, which means lower per-gram prices. In Milwaukee, authorities said a gram of heroin goes for $100 or less on the street, down from $125 five years ago.
Heroin gets to Milwaukee via established drug trade routes originating in Mexico and South America, said Dan Sanders, a federal prosecutor. Milwaukee is typically the terminus of drug routes that enter the country through speedboats from the Caribbean and across the Mexican border. Last week, investigators said Colombian drug smugglers had sewed liquid heroin into the stomachs of puppies to import the drug into the country. In November, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime concluded that Afghanistan alone would export $2.7 billion in opium in 2005, more than half that nation’s gross domestic product.