A GLOBAL TRADING SYSTEM: POT IS OUT, “HEROIN POPPIES” ARE IN

harvest of opium from poppy on the fieldWe can’t stop talking about it. Everywhere I turn, it’s heroin, heroin, heroin. Overdose. Deaths. Potent, cheap, and available; heroin. And the surge that is happening as we speak, can be traced back to the remote valleys of the northern Sierra Madre. 

A GLOBAL TRADING SYSTEM: POT IS SO LAST YEAR, POPPIES ARE IN

Sierra Madre? Sierra Madre refers to one of many mountain ranges in Mexico, Central America, and the United States. So what does that have to do with anything. 

With the wholesale price of marijuana falling, partially because of the decriminalization of the drug in certain parts of the US, Mexican drug farmers have begun to turn away from cannabis and have started filling their fields with, you guessed it, poppies. Poppies are heroin in its very first, au naturale form. Mexican heroin has been flooding the north as US authorities with perfect timing. The flood of heroin, came right as the prescription drug epidemic came to a screeching halt, following tightened control on synthetic opiates such as Vicodin and OxyContin. As the pills became harder to get and more costly, Mexican drug trafficking organizations have tapped into the new markets for heroin in places such as Winchester, VA., and Brattleboro, VT., where, until recently, needle use for street narcotics was unknown. 

So yeah. The farmers are smart. The famers in the fabled “Golden Triangle,” of Mexico’s Sinaloa state, which has produced some of the countries biggest and most infamous gangsters, as well as their biggest marijuana harvests, say they have stopped growing pot because the price has collapsed in the past 5 years. It has gone from 100 dollars per kilo to less than 25. It just isn’t lucrative anymore, nor is it worth it. 

So as any good business does, they tap into the consciousness of their consumers. Growers are now sowing their plots with opium poppies and large-scale heroin operations are turning up in places were they have never been seen before. 

Let’s go back to January really quick: Police in Honduras found their first poppy farm in the country, raiding a sophisticated mountain greenhouse as big as a soccer field. That same week, soldiers and police in Guatemala came under attack by farmers armed with clubs and gas bombs, as they moved in to destroy 160 acres of poppy.

Along the border with Mexico, US authorities have seized 2,162 kilos of heroin. That is up from 367 kilos in 2007. So as the needle habit in the US makes a comeback, the Mexican farmers are more than happy to tap into a money making machine, known as your heroin addiction. 

Although prescription painkillers remain more widely abused and account for far more fatal overdoses, heroin has been “moving all over the country and popping up in areas you didn’t see before,” said Carl Pike, a senior official in the Special Operations Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration. With its low price and easy portability, heroin has reached beyond New York, Chicago and other places where it has long been available. Rural areas of New England, Appalachia and the Midwest are being hit especially hard, with cities such as Portland, Maine; St. Louis;and Oklahoma City struggling to cope with a new generation of addicts. Pike and other DEA officials say the spread is the result of a shrewd marketing strategy developed by Mexican traffickers. They have targeted areas with the worst prescription pill abuse, sending heroin pushers to “set up right outside the methadone clinics,” one DEA agent said.

But can you blame them?

While Columbia is historically known as being the biggest source of heroin, Mexican output has surpassed it recently. Together the two, account for 90% of the heroin in the United States. As seizures of cocaine and marijuana along the border have fallen over the past several years, flows of methamphetamine and heroin have soared, federal statistics show.Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel continues to be the biggest provider of heroin to the United States, controlling as much as half of the North American market. Sinaloa boss Joaquín “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzmán grew up here in the mountains outside the municipal seat of Badiraguato, and his organization remains the dominant criminal power along the western border and west coast of Mexico.

This area though, all it knows is how to grow potent drug making plants. The entire region is a giant drug farm and has been for decades. “There’s no other way to make a living here,” said Silla, who has brought up his sons in the business, as his father did before him. Feeling confident after several years of good harvests, Silla and other families here planted more poppies than ever this year, but their radiant purple, red and white flowers were spotted by aerial surveillance last month. Mexican soldiers in pickups came roaring up the creek bed soon after and tore out the crop, chopping up irrigation hoses and searching homes for guns and cash.

A kilo of the raw, sticky opium sap that is used to make heroin sells wholesale for $1,500 in the northern Sierra Madre, nearly double its 2012 price, according to growers. With fertilizer and favorable weather, a well-tended poppy field can yield eight kilos of sap per acre, nearly enough to make a kilo of raw heroin. It’s a much better cut than the whole marijuana game. 

The increased demand for heroin in the United States appears to be keeping wholesale prices high, even with abundant supply. The Mexican mountain folk in hamlets such as this one do not think of themselves as drug producers. They also plant corn, beans and other subsistence crops but say they could never earn a living from their small food plots. And they just can’t compete with the American marijuana growers. And with more and more of the American marijuana market being flooded with potent and cheaper pot, Mexican trafficking groups have reorganized. 

When a product starts losing value, you diversify. It’s true of any farmer as well as business man. And that’s how they see it. 

If anything, it just goes to show that the legalization of a drug can help to curb cartel and gang involvement. The War on Drugs, may finally be moving closer to a solution. If only we could slow down the heroin. 

4 Obstacles to Getting Heroin Treatment and Getting Sober

heroin treatmentTreatment facilities are packed. Jam packed. Inpatient rehab? It is expensive. Insurance companies? They are refusing coverage. Addicts are looking to get clean from heroin, a tiring uphill battle. And it seems like we will never be able to help every single person who wants it. 

Here are the 4 obstacles to getting heroin treatment and getting sober (at least the biggest ones):

Withdrawal: Withdrawal is most opiate users worst nightmare. Especially heroin users. Heroin addicts will begin to crazy racing thoughts, their bones will hurt, they will begin to sweat, and it will start to feel like the world is going to end. Hot and then cold, cold and then hot. The withdrawal itself doesn’t kill, but it can cause many addicts to just to give up and go back to using heroin. With a now lowered tolerance, many overdose, and then a few die. Withdrawal is tough. And we get it. It is one of the biggest obstacles to getting sober.  But withdrawal can be overcome and there is a higher chance of making it through it if you have the help from a facility. That is if you can find a bed, which brings us to our second obstacle.

Lack of beds: The number of people using heroin the United States has nearly doubled from 2007 to 2012 to some 669,000 people and more people are now seeking treatment for their problem. But of the 23.1 million Americans who needed treatment for drugs and/or alcohol in 2012, only 2.5 million people received help from a facility. There just aren’t enough beds at treatment facilities, or there aren’t enough facilities in general. There are about 12,000 addiction treatment programs nationwide, according to the nonprofit Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia. Of those, only 10% are residential facilities, and about 80% are outpatient programs. The other 10%? They are methadone clinics. So let’s say you do manage to find a bed, how are you going to pay for it? Here is obstacle number 3.

The Constant Battle with the Insurance Company: While most insurance policies state that they allow coverage up to 30 days in a residential treatment center, nobody actually gets those 30 days and if they do, there is usually a high deductible that has to be paid somehow. The average duration in residential care? It is usually 11 to 14 days. So let’s say you want to pay out of pocket? What is it going to run you? Well, here is obstacle number four.

The Cost: If you are paying out of pocket, a 30 day inpatient stay could cost you ONLY 5,000 dollars. But the average cost is usually around 30,000 dollars. The cost of a heroin detox only is usually around 3,000 dollars and that is for 3 to 5 days of care. Most clinics require payment up front if insurance can’t be used. 

Luckily there are numerous ways around these obstacles and we know the roads to take. Nothing has to stand in the way of you getting help for yourself or your loved one. All of these obstacles are surmountable even though they are there. If you need treatment for yourself or a loved one, get expert help and advice. Wicked Sober is in the business of helping those are suffering from the disease of addiction and alcoholism. No one has to wait to get help because of these obstacles. So don’t. Let us help you! 

How Bad is Heroin Use in the United States? The Facts

heroin useWe have been hearing about heroin all over the United States, but never in one nice big number. Everything reads based on city or state. What we want to take a look at is how bad the heroin use really is across the board. And we are going to.

Here are the numbers on heroin use in the US. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health: In 2012 about 669,000 Americans reported using heroin the past year. Which if I know anything about heroin, means they are probably addicted, or at least the majority are. There are very few individuals who only use heroin once. 

This number, 669,000 is rising and has been since 2009. The “trend” appears to be driven by young adults, aged 18-25. There has been the biggest increase in use among those in this age group. Along with that the number of people using heroin for the first time is appallingly high. 156,000 people started using heroin in 2012 and probably still are. That number is double the number of people in 2006 who tried it for the first time. 

And while these numbers are rising steadily, the numbers are actually declining for those aged 12-17. In the past year, heroin use among the Nations 8th, 10th and, 12th graders is at its lowest levels in the history of the survey. Less than 1% of those surveyed in all grades had tried heroin in 2013. Which has been a steady decline since 2005. 

So what about addiction? Well, the number of people meeting the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition criteria for dependence or abuse of heroin doubled from 214,000 in 2002, to 467,000 in 2012. Data on what these numbers look like now and where these numbers reach hasn’t been released yet. 

The impact of heroin use is huge. It is identified as being one of the biggest drug issues across several local regions from coast to coast. The rising harm associated with heroin use at the community level was presented in a report produced by the NIDA Community Epidemiology Work Group. The CEWG is comprised of researchers in areas across the United states and selected foreign countries that provide community level surveillance of drug abuse and its consequences or emerging trends. And heroin is taking the cake right now. 

Heroin use is no longer found only urban areas. Heroin use in the US has spread into suburban and rural communities near Chicago and St. Louis. Heroin use is also on the rise among young adults in the areas. Individuals in the young adult age range, 18-25, are seeking treatment for heroin addiction or heroin abuse more now too. The numbers increased from about 11% in 2008 to 26% in the first half of 2012

I am not sure what the numbers look like for 2013 quite yet but they are probably worse than what you just read. 

 

The Ugly Truth: Why Everyone is Dying From Heroin (Hint: It’s Not Because of Fentanyl)

heroin overdoseIt’s an ugly truth.

Give an addict heroin and there is a chance they will die. Not because of fentanyl. But because they are an addict that is doing heroin.

Just an update, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s bag of dope didn’t have fentanyl in it. It wasn’t even too much. He was just an addict on a day that ended with the letter ‘y’. That is why he died.

37 deaths in Maryland. An abnormally large amount of deaths in Pittsburgh. Deaths in South Florida. People dying all the time from “drug overdose.” And it all has been chalked up to heroin, not just heroin though, heroin cut with fentanyl. A special potent mixture that leads to overdose and death.

We have heard so much about heroin cut with fentanyl, not only is it kind of getting obnoxious, but we all seem to have forgotten that heroin in and of itself is kind of problem. Hello!!

Forget the shit labeled Theraflu. Forget the marked baggies. Forget the relapse and tolerance crap. Just in case anyone has forgotten, heroin, all by its pretty little china white, beige or brown self, can cause you to draw in and out your last breaths on this awesome planet. All it has to be is that extra .1 or .2 (or maybe you ball hard and do a whole extra 1.0) and that does the trick.

Or maybe, just maybe, here is the kicker; It doesn’t even have to be extra at all, it could just be the next shot for no reason other than the fact that you are doing heroin. YOU ARE DOING HEROIN! And quite possibly can’t stop even if you want to. People die all the time from just good ‘ol heroin in its regular uncut form, merely because they were doing a drug that can potentially kill you. You just don’t hear about it because its usually some average guy or girl, not a celebrity, who dies alone, without 36 other deaths to make their passing newsworthy. 

Heroin, in and of itself, without being too much, without needing fentanyl, without a low tolerance, IS DANGEROUS. Heroin is going to keep killing people as long as there are people doing heroin. No one has to overdose and do too much, they just have to use the stuff. This is the truth, especially for addicts. Anyone, absolutely anyone, who is using heroin runs the risk of dying, regardless of tolerance, regardless of what it is or isn’t cut with, and regardless of how experienced they are. People die because they are addicted to a drug and the risk of dying from it is there every time they decide they want to feel better, numb out, get high, whatever. The thought of death either never enters their mind, is immediately pushed out by the desire to get high, or is ignored with an invincibility idea that you get when you haven’t overdosed yet (“It can’t happen to me.”) Maybe the idea that they could die does enter their mind, but it means nothing when you are an addict. The facts are, that death from heroin can happen just because you’re a human being that did heroin. Forget the overdose part of it all together. 

But how? 

Heroin is a potent opiate analgesic. And the disease of addiction is one that will fuck you until you’re in your grave, jail, or have decided to change your life and get sober (and even then there needs to be constant progress.) Put that combo together and you don’t need the term overdose. You might not even need the term addiction in all reality. All you really need, to die, is heroin.

Heroin not only blocks your brain from being able to register pain, it also suppresses things like your breathing while slowing your heart rate. It is a depressant. Think slow, think sloth, think sleepy. That is what heroin does. It numbs you out and slows you down, get a little too slow, and you might just stop. The heart can slowly stop beating. The lungs can slowly stop inflating and deflating. It is really simple. And it doesn’t have to be a cocktail of crap mixed with heroin to cause it. Heroin does this by itself, even in small amounts. Every time an addict uses heroin this is what happens, and the next time they decide they want to get high, could be the time their body decides to stop instead of keep on keeping on. There doesn’t need to be a bigger reason or explanation behind it. Heroin is dangerous. Every. Single. Time. You do it. Just because it’s heroin. People are NOT going to stop dying. Because people are still using heroin. And the majority of people are still using heroin because their addiction tells them need to. That my friend, is the ugly truth.