Call it "boy" or "dog food," but heroin is a growing problem in central Ohio and throughout the state, a new report says.
The Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network, which compiles information from eight regions in the state, assesses the type of drugs and quantities available statewide. The report distributed by the Ohio Department of Drug and Alcohol Addiction Services covers June 2010 through January 2011.
In all eight regions, including Columbus, the study says there is "an increased availability of heroin." Black tar heroin is the most common form of the drug in central Ohio, although a brown powder version is available in other parts of the state.
More troubling is who is using the powerful and addictive drug.
In Cincinnati, new heroin users are "likely to be 15 to 18 years old, white and often female."
In the Columbus region, 14- to 29-year-olds are showing up for treatment for heroin addiction, the report said. Many are switching to heroin from prescription opioids.
Information for the study came from law-enforcement sources; statistical data from courts, coroners and other sources; and active and recovering drug users in treatment programs.
Law-enforcement officials said the heroin business is increasingly being run by Mexican drug cartels that find demand shooting up because people hooked on prescription painkillers are switching to more powerful drugs. In addition, crack cocaine dealers are switching to selling heroin, the report said.
Crack cocaine, in both rock and powder form, is still available but less in demand as heroin rises in popularity.Known on the street as "boy" and "dog food," heroin can be purchased for as little as $10 a dose.
The highly publicized problem with abuse of prescription drugs is well-documented in the study. Drugs sold under the brand names OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin are widely available as street drugs.
A related problem showing up is illegal street sales of Suboxone, frequently prescribed to help drug addicts get off heroin, the report said. The administration of Gov. John Kasich recently touted Suboxone and expanded its use in treatment programs.
However, the report said addicts are also using it more often as a bridge drug to avoid withdrawal when heroin is scarce.
Marijuana continues to be the most available drug in Ohio and is "available on nearly any street corner or within minutes of a phone call to a dealer." Use of the drug "transcends age, gender and race."
Lesser-known drugs being used in Ohio are Ecstasy, a synthetic drug with hallucinogenic effect; LSD; psilocybin mushrooms; and prescription drugs for ADHD treatment such as Adderall and Ritalin.
The study said the drugs are often used in combination with alcohol or other prescription drugs, such as medication for erectile dysfunction.
Saturday, April 23, 2011 03:07 AM
BY ALAN JOHNSON
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
The original report has been uploaded to the archives.
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.