Heroin Now Cheaper than a 6-Pack of Beer

By chillinwill · Apr 14, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    Massapequa, New York (CNN) — Doreen and Victor Ciappa thought they got a second chance when their 18-year-old daughter, Natalie, survived a heroin overdose last May.

    Her mother recalled how, after the overdose, Natalie promised to stop using, insisting she didn’t need rehab.

    “She said ‘oh no, I’m not going. I’ll get myself off it,’” Doreen said.

    Doreen Ciappa says she had no idea the packets she found among Natalie’s belongings after her first overdose were actually heroin. “I had spent hours on the internet trying to figure out what they were.”

    During the year before the overdose, Natalie had changed. The straight-A student, cheerleader and accomplished singer had lost weight and began seeing less and less of her old friends. She was spending a lot of time alone in her room, writing songs and poetry. She started hanging out with a new boyfriend. Soon, she was missing curfew and fighting frequently with her parents. Despite their suspicions, the Ciappas say it never occurred to them Natalie was using heroin.

    Within weeks of the first overdose, she went out to a party and never came home. Natalie had overdosed again, this time fatally.

    Law enforcement officials say a tiny, one-dose bag of heroin, costing $5-$10, is cheaper than highly controlled synthetic opiates like Oxycontin or Hydrocodone — and easily accessible to teenagers.

    “Unfortunately, today, a bag of heroin can be cheaper than a 6 pack of beer,” said John Gilbride, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s New York Field Division.

    Vote! Should drugs be legal in the U.S.?

    And this cheap heroin is deadlier than ever, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center. Unlike a generation ago, when the street drug was less than 10 percent pure — today’s version can be upwards of 70 percent pure. Teenagers are snorting it, smoking it in joints, and getting hooked faster, and overdosing more.

    “Try heroin once, and you may not have the opportunity to try it again,” Gilbride says.

    Wayne O’Connell, Managing Director of the Daytop drug treatment program’s outreach center on Long Island, says they are seeing teens as young as 13 using heroin.

    According to the Justice Department’s National Drug Threat Assessment (2009), Mexican criminal groups are expanding Mexican heroin distribution in eastern states, taking over the South American heroin market. Mexican heroin production increased 105 percent from 1999 to 2007, while Colombian heroin production decreased 47 percent during about the same period. (1999-2006)

    The NDTA says more than half of heroin arrests nationwide happen in mid-Atlantic and Northeast states - Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia. In the Northeast states, the Department of Health reports that in 2006, almost twice as many heroin users sought treatment than all other regions combined (173,728 vs. 90,405).

    On Long Island’s Nassau County, where the Ciappas live, police made 211 heroin-related arrests in 2008. So far in the first three months of this year, police say, they have made 135 such arrests.

    Officials and drug counselors say heroin is luring middle-class teenagers like Natalie Ciappa, because they don’t feel the stigma associated with the image of the heroin addict as an IV-drug user.

    “I think we skipped a generation in education,” said Detective Lt. Peter Donohue of the Nassau County Police Department’s Narcotics Vice Squad. “The young kids don’t see the perils with heroin.”

    Parents, too, may be unaware of the perils of heroin. The Ciappas have channeled their grief into a mission to save other children from Natalie’s fate. Above all, they want school districts to send home warnings to parents when there are reports of heroin use or arrests.

    “They teach the kids about everything and update them on everything. They tell parents about head lice and pinkeye, and yet they’re keeping quiet about this.”

    The Ciappas helped pass Long Island’s “Natalie’s Law,” which requires officials to post on the web heroin related arrests by location, frequency, and age of those arrested.

    Appearing at a local civic association meeting, Doreen Ciappa pointed to a poster of Natalie and told parents: “This picture was taken nine days before my daughter died. This is today’s heroin addict. This is what they look like. They look like everybody’s kids.”

    Some districts are reaching out to parents. Alan Groveman, Superintendent of the Connetquot School District, also spoke at the meeting the Ciappas attended.

    “Schools in some cases are concerned that it will give them a reputation of a drug haven or an outlaw building that is problematic,” Groveman said. “We’ve taken the opposite approach,” he said. “The children are at stake and that’s really the issue.”

    Victor Ciappa says his daughter had everything going for her, until heroin came into her life. “She had everything to live for. And I just never wondered ’cause I never thought it was an issue. I never thought a kid like that would ever dabble with something as scary as heroin.”

    By Carol Costello
    April 13, 2009

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  1. NeuroChi
    Drugs will only get less expensive as time goes on. Legalize them already and put them in control, and off of the streets.
  2. pinksox
    Agreed for the most part. Not sure about heroin and methamphetamines. Those seem to eat people alive! But one has to start somewhere. It's soooo obvious that Amerika is NOT winning this so-called "war on drug." Legalize them, make them quality controlled(that'd reduce a lot of death right there), use a percentage of sales to pay off this ridiculous deficeit "W" has gotten us into. A lot of ppl wouldn't turn to street H and meth if pharm amphetamine and opiates were legal and controlled.
  3. davestate
    If pure H was available legally, OTC so to speak, SWIM knows for sure he'd be dead and gone shortly after. The majority of people aren't ready, and never will be, ready for that sort of responsibility and danger.

    It's more complicated by far than legalise totally or prohibition.
  4. honourableone
    Systems could be put in place to maximise safety. The irony of making a substance "controlled" is that the quality, price and the ages of the people using it immediately becomes far less controlled.

    To throw an idea out there, being allowed certain drugs could follow a similar principle to obtaining and keeping a driving license. A meeting with someone well trained could ne neccesary to apply, and then a test on the safety of that drug could be needed before a license to possess and use that drug was given. Then only certain amounts would be allowed, and if the license holder was found to be giving the drug to others or using irresponsibly then the license would be revoked. This would more or less strict dependant on the drug in question, and cases of addiction would be treated in a different manner.

    That's far from "true freedom", and has it's faults, but I was just throwing an idea out there that would be a viable alternative to the current situation. It would be expensive, but it would hopefully cut costs in a lot of other places.
  5. NeuroChi
    That may or may not be true right now, but why are you making the decision for everyone else? That's the question, and I think people should be deciding for themselves.

    I didn't mean OTC though. Taking it off the streets is the first step, when you don't know what you're getting and who's getting it, but I meant making it controlled as alcohol is - but much more security. Depending on your location, alcohol is often much more difficult to obtain than an illegal substance, because drug dealer's do not check for ID.

    I'd imagine a world where any psychoactive drug would be available to any adult human being. But I'd be doing background checks, psychological assessments, and then providing individuals who chose to buy these substances with a license. Then I'd monitor their consumption too, make sure nothing goes wrong.

    Sure, some people who would never consider trying it would give it a shot. So be it, it's their choice, and I'd make sure they know what they're getting, and what they're getting into. I think most people would still not give it a shot, but for those that chose to, it would be much safer. Those that chose to use drugs now whether or not they become legal will do so anyway, so why not?

    For the rest of those who overdosed on an off batch, or got HIV from a dirty needle, or got snuffed by a bad deal, this legalization and regulation of hard drugs would solve their problems. The last one would be the addiction.

    Not sure what you mean here, because you contradict yourself further in your post. Making a substance controlled increases the quality of it, and makes it more unavailable to people under age. Maybe that's what you mean. :cool:
  6. honourableone
    Sorry, when I said controlled, I meant being put into the "Controlled Substances Act" or similar; the official meaning of being a "Controlled Substance" where that substance is illegal. Real control would give all of the stated benefits.

    Get what I mean? :cool:
  7. NeuroChi
    Yupp, I was confusing come terminology. I guess drugs such as heroin would fall in a category between 'control' and 'regulation' because they wouldn't be as restricted as controlled substances, but they wouldn't be as readily available as alcohol. (In my world anyway)
  8. Nature Boy
    In essence, it shouldn't be. Had drug prohibition never existed in the first place we would have never seen the huge escalation in their use. Complete legalisation may seem like a radical step but it crosses that fundamental boundary, the boundary government should never have fucked with. Adjusting to complete legalisation would be a difficult transition but some would deem it a necessary one in order to move past the era of needless incarceration we live in.

    Personally, I don't know if we're ready for it. I would advocate harm reduction programmes for heroin addicts, needle exchanges and so on, with the full legalisation of less harmful substances. It's difficult to imagine the legal unlimited sale of cocaine and heroin however.
  9. baseone
    swim is wondering why his junk isnt as cheap or cheaper than a six pack?
  10. Grabnar
    swiy must not live in the northeast , swim will not discuss pricing or location but tobacco is more expensive in that region than H
  11. zeropunk5_7
    in a lot of places heroin is readily available, and the harm reduction of giving addicts pure heroin to shoot without cut will eventually prevent overdoses via consistent dosing.
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