A “dramatic and alarming” rise in heroin use is being seen by a drug tretment center and a prosecutor in the Albany, N.Y., area, says the Albany Times Union. District Attorney David Soares and St. Peter’s Addiction Recovery Center held a joint news conference this week to warn about the problem. In 2007, the St. Peter’s center served 261 heroin addicts; in 2008, the number rose to 370, a 42 percent increase. New York State overall shows a more moderate increase.
Many of the heroin users coming in for treatment are suburban youth and adults. Soares believes children and adults are being introduced to opiates at home through prescription drugs, and then they move on to heroin. “It used to be that Junior would get a drink out of Dad’s liquor cabinet,” he said. Today, children are raiding parent’s medicine cabinets for prescription drugs, he said. “There used to be keg parties for high school kids and college kids,” Soares said. “Now there are pill parties.” The most commonly abused prescription opiates that are seen at the St. Peter’s center are hydrocodone, codeine and oxycodone — opiates usually prescribed as painkillers. Another factor driving the sale of heroin is its relative cost. Cocaine prices have gone up and heroin prices have fallen, Soares said.