Heroin use is on the rise again, though this time it is reaching younger people in the suburbs of Central Indiana and elsewhere, the Indianapolis Star reports. Police, prosecutors, defense lawyers, coroners, and treatment centers all say they’ve noted the troubling trend. “It’s not just something we thought we’d see, (but) our therapists and providers are seeing more of it,” said Flora Walker, the community liaison for the Pathway Family Center in Castleton. Heroin was a major problem in mostly urban areas in the 1960s and 1970s, but its use had fallen off before resurfacing in the past couple of years.
Experts cite several reasons for the drug’s return. Typically produced in Mexico or Colombia, today’s heroin is purer than the heroin of decades ago, which means users who hope to hide their habit can snort or smoke it rather than inject the drug. It’s similar to legal painkillers, such as Oxycontin, but is cheaper. Heroin goes for as little as $5 a high. It’s the addictive quality of heroin that has police most worried. “You’re getting these kids at such an early age,” said Maj. Lee Goodman, head of the Hamilton/Boone County Drug Task Force. “Heroin is a hard drug. It’s a lifelong addiction, and it will ruin the rest of their lives.” Drug deaths in Indiana have increased substantially, to 766 in 2006 from 333 in 2002. It was unclear how many of those were heroin overdoses.