A Pittsburgh teacher was charged last month in a bank heist with her boyfriend and with stealing more than $22,500 in laptop computers to feed the couple’s $100-a-day heroin habit. An art student was killed last Sunday when a deal to trade his iPad for $200 worth of heroin went bad, police said. Aberrations? Hardly, police and addiction treatment specialists tell the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. They say the cases make clear the nature of the drug’s power, indiscriminate of race, socio-economic status or age, with users ranging from teens to late middle age.
“For the media, those were high-profile cases, but we see it every day,” said Pittsburgh police Lt. Bill Mathias, head of the bureau’s narcotics and vice unit. “Heroin is our biggest problem. We see heroin all day, all the time.” Neil Capretto, Gateway Rehabilitation Center’s medical director, says, “The faces of heroin have changed.” He adds, “”Right now there is more heroin being used in the Pittsburgh area than at any time in our history. It’s a major problem. The scary thing is, I see it getting worse before it gets better. More and more people are getting into it and less are getting out of it.”