The Chicago area has long had a problem with prescription drug abuse, and recently it’s been battling the latest incarnation of the painkiller addiction trend: heroin. The Chicago Tribune reports that heroin is no longer an inner-city issue, noting that more people die from overdose deaths than car accidents in Illinois and that it costs state taxpayers around $225 million a year to incarcerate drug offenders.
Separately last July, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that a more powerful version of heroin had 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.
And according to CBS Chicago, the Eisenhower Expressway has been dubbed the Heroin Highway – a drive where suburban kids can easily score the drug.