Monday, December 18, 2006

Afghan heroin tsunami hits Boston area

The impact of the record 2006 opium crop in Afghanistan is beginning to be felt in parts of the U.S., and it's not just in the inner cities. Among other communities reporting lower prices, greater potency and wider availability is this letter from the Boston suburbs by Joanne Peterson, founder of a support group for parents whose children are addicted to opiates. Peterson says:
It used to be that it started with OxyContin. Now it starts with 70-80% pure heroin, which can be snorted and is so easy to obtain that it is being experimented by kids that you would be shocked to see using this stuff.

In the past 8 weeks there have been 9 deaths so far of young souls from the suburbs ...

We are in a panic because more and more young people who were brought up well, taught right from wrong, went to church, CCD, participated in sports, dance classes, graduated high school, etc., are dying a sad and slow death. Some have had to be plucked from college to go to detox (if a bed can be found) and many have died. Their parents and siblings are absolutely desperate to try and save them but the treatment access is close to impossible to deal with. Insurance refuses to pay for enough treatment. And private treatment is so expensive your normal, every-day, middle-class family has to second mortgage their home or sell off assets to afford it.

The south shore is taking a big hit right now, the death toll is climbing and we are begging the public to get involved and help us get this drug out of Massachusetts, We need to demand it at this point. Like we all say, heroin is not grown in the USA. Where is it coming from? Who is responsible for allowing it in?
Read the complete letter here. Ms. Peterson's group, Learn to Cope, is also on the web, here. More on this story from the South Boston Enterprise, here.

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