H, smack, horse, brown, black tar
WHAT IT IS:
Heroin is a highly addictive drug derived from morphine, which is obtained from the opium poppy. Heroin’s popularity is attributed to its long-lasting high and its cheap price.
WHO IS TAKING IT?
Heroin has no boundaries. The drug has trapped wealthy and poor people, city folks and rural residents, women and men, white people and minorities. Many users turn to heroin after getting hooked on prescription pills that they no longer are able to obtain from doctors. Others seek heroin after their tolerance for powerful prescription pills reaches a plateau, or the high from prescription pills becomes too expensive to maintain.
RETURN OF HEROIN
The same drug cartels that distribute cocaine and meth have diversified their markets into heroin distribution. During the 1990s, crack and cocaine were the drugs of choice, with methamphetamine growing in popularity by the end of the 1990s and still a major problem today. Heroin started re-emerging in the mid-2000s.
WHERE IS IT COMING FROM?
• Afghanistan is the biggest producer of heroin, with 3.3 million Afghans involved in producing opium. Afghanistan is part of a region known as the Golden Triangle, which also includes portions of Southeast Asia, the Yunnan province in China, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
• Mexico and Columbia: Production has risen sixfold from 2007 to 2011, placing Mexico as the second largest opium producer in the world. Mexican cartels are known to produce a type of illicit heroin commonly called black tar, which results in quicker synthesis. This black tar heroin is found primarily in the western U.S., while “white heroin” comes from Colombia and is primarily sold on the East Coast.
HOW DOES A PERSON TAKE HEROIN?
NEED HELP OVERCOMING ADDICTION?
Coalition Against Drug Abuse
Sources: Coalition against Drug Abuse; U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Foundation for Drug Free World, LiveScience.com