Police in Washington a report in a startling new drug trend – heroin. In fact, a recent articlein the Portland Press Herald states that heroin abuse in the United States is at its highest level since the 1970s. Law enforcement say that heroin has become so popular recently mainly because its low price. At $10 for one bag, police are saying it's cheaper to get high then to buy a six pack of beer. It is also a lot more addicting that alcohol.
Another startling trend is the increase in heroin use among young people in their teens and early 20s. The Press Herald article talks about how young people develop drug problems by abusing prescription opiates like Oxycontin and later move to heroin because it is cheaper than buying pills for $5 to $6 a piece.
Washington police are also blaming a recent rise in crime on heroin. A report on King5.com explains:
Arlington is in the grips of a crime spree brought on by homeless heroin addicts roaming neighborhoods and parking lots.
Law enforcement feel that heroin addicts are committing burglaries, thefts and other crimes in an attempt to get the small amount of money needed to feed their habit. Most recently a man robbed a Subway restaurant in Arlington, WA by telling employees that he had a gun.
Washington police are doing everything they can to draw attention to this new epidemic. Poulsbo police predict that heroin is now responsible for 80 percent of crime in the city and even recently tweeted a photo of a large pile of hypodermic needles. This was done in order to show citizens, especially young ones, the seriousness of the heroin epidemic in the city.
One of the ways police are working to stop the rash of crimes is to ban addicts who have been convicted of shoplifting from entering stores. This seems like a very short term cure. Instead, police should work on an outreach program to get homeless addicts off the streets and into substance abuse treatment.