Where Did All this Heroin Come From?

man putting heroin in pocket

Once upon a time, not so long ago, it was inconceivable that the average American would be addicted to heroin. It was only something that maybe people out on the fringes of society would do. Maybe bikers or jazz musicians or people who spent a lot of time in jail.

This never really was the truth, but it was the impression most middle-class Americans had. No one THEY knew would ever use heroin, much less be addicted to it.

Fast forward to this decade. The growing heroin problem in this country is overwhelming public health departments. Not a day goes by that I don’t see a news article this worsening situation. Like this article from U.S. News & World Report.

This article states that among young American adults, opioids like heroin, oxycodone, morphine and other opioids are responsible for one-fifth of the deaths. Not only that, but between 2001 and 2016, the number of opioid-related deaths in this country quadrupled.

Here’s another piece of news that relates to this terrible problem:
As America legalizes marijuana in more states. Mexican cartels increase their plantings of opium poppies—the source of heroin—and production of the finished product. According to the former chief of international operations for the DEA, “The big moneymaker right now, given the opioid epidemic, is heroin, and the reason that it's heroin is that people who have become addicted to prescription opioids find it a lot cheaper to purchase heroin. The cartels are very attuned to shifts in drug abuse in the United States. They always have been."

bags of heroin

If you’re a mom or dad, you need to realize that there is a pervasive threat in this country. You need to talk to your children about the intense danger of picking up a few pills at a party or out of a medicine chest and abusing them recreationally. Why talk to them about pills instead of heroin? Because these days, the majority of new heroin addicts get started with painkillers. Maybe they used pills recreationally or maybe they got them from a doctor. Either path can end in an addiction to heroin.

Any young person who does not fully understand the danger of abusing a few pills when he’s out at a party or when he sees them on a bedside table is at risk. Once he has an intense craving for opiates, the lower price and greater availability of heroin can drive him to drug dealers for his fix.

Please take the time to cover this subject with your children thoroughly. Here is some information on our site that can help you.

It may take some work to instill a deep dread in your child of picking up any pill that is not specifically prescribed for them. But if you do it, it could save their life. You may never know if it saved them or not, but you can sleep a little better every night if you know they would not for the life of them ever pick up one of these drugs. There are many thousands of parents out there who just wish they could have the chance that you have, to provide that education.


Karen Hadley

For more than a decade, Karen has been researching and writing about drug trafficking, drug abuse, addiction and recovery. She has also studied and written about policy issues related to drug treatment.