One Saturday morning, Cathy Auer of Portland found her 15-year-old son, Johnny, a high school freshman, crumpled like a dead body, his skin gray, saliva seeping from his mouth and nose, purple smudges around his lips, reports the Oregonian. He survived a heroin overdose, unlike a Reed College student who overdosed in April and the more than 100 Oregonians expected to die this year.
After Oregon’s crackdown on methamphetamine, police say heroin has become a cheaper, more plentiful alternative, especially for kids tempted to venture beyond marijuana and alcohol. One dose costs as little as $15. It’s hard to say where this resurgence of heroin will lead. Heroin deaths remain far below the highs of the late 1990s, but the trends are ominous. Heroin used alone or with other drugs now kills more Oregonians than meth and cocaine combined. Last year, 115 people died from heroin overdoses, up 29 percent from 2006.