A new heroin-laced powder known as “cheese” is popping up in middle and high schools in Texas, where dozens of youths have been caught with the drug, reports USA Today. The problem has been focused on schools in Dallas, where police reported kids snorting the mixture of ground-up cold medicines and heroin at the start of this school year. The Drug Enforcement Administration, which calls the addictive concoction “starter heroin,” is concerned enough about the drug’s appearance in Dallas that it has alerted agents nationwide to watch for it.
Police in Dallas have logged 78 incidents involving cheese in 11 middle and high schools. Marijuana remains the most popular drug in Dallas schools. Monitoring the Future, a national survey of drug use, said last year that about 27 percent of 10th-graders had used marijuana during the previous year; the rate for heroin use among such students was less than 1 percent. Cheese is a tan powder made mostly from acetaminophen and diphenhydramine HCL – the ingredients in Tylenol PM – with heroin mixed in. Samples confiscated in Dallas have been up to 8 percent heroin. The drugs are crushed together and typically folded into notebook paper. A quarter-gram sells for $5, and a single hit for $2.