The Chicago area has long had a problem with prescription drug abuse, and now it’s battling the latest incarnation of the painkiller addiction trend: heroin. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that a more powerful version of heroin has made its way into the Chicago suburbs. As in other areas of the country, kids who are hooked on prescription drugs like OxyContin are turning to heroin because it’s cheaper and provides a similar high. Because of the heightened potency of today’s heroin, users need not inject the drug, but instead can smoke or snort it – making it more attractive to those who might otherwise be turned off by the fear of dirty needles.
Since January 2011 in Naperville, seven people died of heroin overdoses; 30 fatally overdosed on heroin in Will County in 2011; and seven in Kane County last year. Meanwhile, Lake County saw a 130 percent increase in heroin-related deaths between 2000 and 2009, the article says.
According to CBS Chicago, the Eisenhower Expressway has been dubbed the Heroin Highway – a drive where suburban kids can easily score the drug.