An old dresser, a used car – and heroin? One man in New Jersey was recently arrested for attempting to turn Craigslist into a more diverse marketplace by offering potential customers some “super fire dogfood dope” – that is, heroin – for sale for $60 on the site.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force and the Fairfield Police Department worked together to set up a buy with the alleged drug dealer. According to their reports, the man set up a meeting with undercover agents to sell them 50 small envelopes of heroin. The man was arrested at the arranged buy location and 61 glassine envelopes that held a substance believed to be heroin were found in his possession in addition to $385 in cash.
The NJ man was charged with possession of heroin, possession of heroin in a school zone, and possession of heroin with intent to distribute at the end of last month.
A Threat from All Sides
The fact that it is possible to buy heroin through a site like Craigslist just demonstrates that heroin has infiltrated every part of our lives. When it is possible to go onto a local “garage sale” site and find someone – if not multiple people – who have your drug of choice available for pickup right away, it is clear that the deadly substance has been fully integrated into the community.
No longer is it the case that heroin is sold only in dark alleys in the early hours of the morning by criminals and gangsters, difficult to come by for anyone who doesn’t frequent these areas or spend time in that circle. It is now a recreational drug that could show up at teen parties, in the bathroom at a work event, or at various other social functions. The threat is everywhere, and it is becoming easier and easier to access for those who get hooked on the highly addictive drug.
Stigma of Use and Potency
Part of the problem seems to be that heroin’s reputation has changed over the years. Once believed to be a drug that was only used by injection, there was a stigma associated with use that stopped many from trying the drug, even those who do not stigmatize snorting cocaine or abusing painkillers and other deadly substances. Over the years, the potency of heroin has significantly increased, making it possible to get high off a much smaller amount; this made it unnecessary to inject the drug in order to experience a high. As more and more people began smoking the drug, it lost some of its stigma – at least among those who were comfortable with some level of drug use.
Now, the perception among many is that it is just as risky as smoking synthetic marijuana or crystal meth. That is to say, the view seems to be that heroin may be risky but not necessarily deadly and potentially manageable in small amounts – a very dangerous view, indeed.
The Unknown Risks
No matter what the method of ingestion, it is important to remember that heroin is still a street drug, which means that it is impossible to know exactly what chemical components are used to cut it or what viruses and bacteria it accumulated in the course of its black market journey around the world. The damage that can be done by cutting agents and bacteria are just as deadly as the heroin itself. Because it is impossible to know what or how much is in each dose, it is impossible to know how it will interact with other drugs or medications or to prevent the effects in any way.
New Jersey in Crisis
At least 918 people died of heroin overdose in New Jersey in 2015, the highest death toll yet for the drug. It is expected that this number was far surpassed in 2016 and that 2017 will be even worse.
Currently, there are about 128,000 heroin users across the state. If someone you love is included in that number, intervention is key. Do not wait to respond to the problem. The only way to prevent overdose is to stop using the drug for any reason and in any amount. Learn more about treatment options today.