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Heroin and the Fear of Growing Popularity

During the past decade, there has been a surge in heroin use, but it's not the heroin of the 60's. The old stigma of "shooting H" in dirty bathrooms and dark alleys has been revamped into a trendy "high" for businessmen, housewives and high-schoolers. CNN reports that in some areas drug pushers are selling $10 bags of heroin openly on street corners, but law enforcement is not wasting their time on them. Heroin use has grown so much that the DEA is after the big dealers selling to middle class America. Heroin has taken on a whole new identity.

The apparent overdose of actor and director Phillip Seymour Hoffman is evidence that heroin is not hiding in the shadows anymore. On Feb. 2, 2014, the Oscar winner was found in his Manhattan apartment with the needle still stuck in his arm. The police also found 350 $10 bags of heroin; an addict might use 10 of these $10 bags a day.

The Heroin Process

By 2014, the heroin push has accelerated in America, and pure heroin is brought in from Mexico and Columbia daily. It is shipped directly to "processing houses" in northeastern U.S. cities such as Philadelphia and New York. Here the heroin is cut, packaged in $10 bags, bundled and distributed.

Possession of Heroin and the Consequences

In 2013 $43 million of heroin was confiscated off US streets reports CNN. Heroin possession is punishable in both federal and state courts with very harsh penalties for both first time and repeat offenders.

Prescription Drugs and Meth Support Heroin Use

Contributing to the heroin resurgence is the law enforcement crack down on prescription drugs. With fewer illegal prescription drugs available, addicts turn to heroin and meth, which are also opiate-based drugs with a similar high. To meet the demand for heroin, dealers often cut the powder with additives like Fentanyl, which is a drug used in battling cancer, and when not monitored, is fatal. Speculations say Hoffman could have used this,

What is the Answer?

Republicans and Democrats have been discussing the War on Drugs, and in one debate, politicians emphasized that the penalties for marijuana and heroin are equal, yet heroin kills and in many states medical marijuana is legal. Attempting to save lives at all costs, some states have "clean needle policies" in force for users, and countries in Europe sponsor legalized rooms called "shooting rooms" for addicts that are proving somewhat successful. 

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