In Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs, an increase in opiate use is leading to a spike in heroin use — and that heroin is plentiful, more pure, and more affordable than ever before, according to an investigational series by the Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer. The majority of people arrested for dealing drugs in the suburbs are doing it to supplement their own addiction, the series reveals, while dealers that have historically stayed in the urban venue have made a business decision to instead travel to the outskirts and suburbs of the city to take the product to the user.
Unfortunately, the series notes, efforts to crack down on the illegal diversion of prescription pills in the area have resulted in a new marketplace for heroin. Says one official:
As we do a better job addressing abuse of opioid prescription drugs, users currently hooked on those will most likely turn to heroin as a cheaper, purer, albeit deadlier, alternative.
The series also notes that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to opiate addiction, but points out that some addicts are finding relief through Vivitrol, a monthly injection of naltrexone that blocks the euphoric and pain-relieving effects of heroin and most other opioids.