Cocaine trafficking and abuse in our region is widespread, however a rather sudden decrease in purity in the 2nd half of 2007 may be indicative of decreasing supplies.
Heroin abuse in the region is increasing, particularly among young white adults and teens. Many of these new and younger abusers have transitioned from prescription opiates.
Heroin availability has increased and is reflected in increased purity levels on the streets and lower wholesale prices. As a matter of fact, the DEA is quoted as having found the first increase in “retail-level” heroin purity in Chicago in 10 years (from 14.7 % to 21.4%). The purity had actually had been steadily declining over that 10 years.
That information, along with data about other drugs, certainly makes it plain that we need to increase our efforts in prevention and treatment (actually secondary prevention), particularly in regard to heroin and other opiates. Many of the current prevention efforts are not going to cut it. We need to start pretty early with age and culture appropriate, factual, repeated education. The message must be clear, consistent, repeated in various ways and through various outlets. Not to scare, but reality based. Drugs (particularly cocaine and opiates) kill. Yes say no to drugs, but you need to know how and why.