Roxy Addicts Are Now Using Heroin
It is no secret that prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic levels in the United States. News of rising overdose rates, “pill mills” prescribing opioid painkillers in return for cash, and a flourishing market for prescription painkillers both online and on the streets has prompted lawmakers to crack down. From busting doctors who overprescribe to creating new laws that target pharmacists, the new laws have made painkillers much harder to find for the average addict.
Unfortunately, roxy addicts are now using heroin. For one, heroin is cheaper. Roxies can cost upwards of 30 dollars a piece on the street, while heroin costs 3 to 10 dollars a bag. For another, heroin is much easier to get.
It makes sense that Roxy addicts are now using heroin. Roxies (oxycodone) are pretty much just a synthetic form of heroin. They are in the same class of drugs: opioids and they have the same effect. This has created a whole new class of heroin addicts.
At one time, heroin use was confined to the inner cities. Since Roxy addicts are now using heroin, lawmakers report that upper middle class kids in their teens and twenties are getting, using, and selling heroin in suburbs and rural areas of the United States. Former Chicago Police Capt. John Roberts told NBC news that “Kids in the city know not to touch it, but the message never got out to the suburbs.” Indeed, as heroin drug doesn’t seem to have the same stigma as it once did in the eyes of young people.
The number of teens dying of heroin overdose has skyrocketed. In 1999, 198 people between the ages of 15 and 24 died of a heroin overdose compared to 510 deaths in 2009, the latest year that data was available. The number of teens seeking treatment for heroin addiction rose 80 percent in the same 10 year time frame.
The fact that Roxy addicts are now using heroin is not all that surprising. Laws and punishment may decrease the amount of a certain drug available on the street, but it does nothing to treat the underlying addiction. Most experts agree that the only real way to combat drug abuse is to educate and treat. Making a certain drug more expensive or less available does nothing but prompt users to switch to other, sometimes more potent, drugs.
Drug cartels in Mexico and Columbia are quick to take advantage of the new popularity of heroin. They have begun marketing their drug to middle America. Packets of heroin are now stamped with popular brand names like Chevrolet or Prada, or marketed using blockbuster movies aimed at young people, like the Twilight series. Dealers even give it away for free in the suburbs at first. Once kids become hooked, they begin to sell it to them at a much lower price than any pill.
Unlike roxies, however, the manufacture of heroin is illegal and therefore unregulated. Roxy users are now using heroin, but there is no dose regulation or prevention of other substances to “cut” heroin, so many accidentally overdose.