Across Long Island, law enforcement agencies are fighting a homegrown heroin market that is poisoning families, filling jail cells, and ending lives, Newsday reports. Some of the dead are boys and girls. Undercover detectives trail suburban teens down the Long Island Expressway to try to identify their New York City suppliers. After a child is found dead from an overdose, detectives knock on the family’s door, searching for links to the drug’s source. Patrol officers arrest first-time shoplifters and bank robbers – newly minted criminals working to support habits. In police stations, heavily addicted suspects succumb quickly to crippling withdrawal symptoms and must be rushed to hospitals.
The desperation of many young addicts, including tales of near-death overdoses and reckless intake of dozens of doses a day, has become a routine part of the workday for many police officers. Despite dramatically increased arrests, thousands seeking rehab, and some higher-level dealers now in jail, drug war veterans say the growing presence of cheap, potent heroin shows no sign of receding.