One moment could jeopardize your life forever. Drug dealers and users alike have learned this the hard way in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and surrounding regions. Since a rash of heroin overdoses channeled 22 deaths at the beginning of last year and 10 users overdosed within 24 hours just last month, dozens of split-second decisions have shaken entire communities off their axes.
All it takes to make an addict is one hit of heroin. That’s how toxic this powder has become. Back when heroin topped the popularity charts in the 1960’s and 70’s, “H” only offered 7% purity; varieties these days can reach as high as 90% potency. Because of its unadulterated contents, heroin no longer requires the use of needles for a quick buzz; instead, addicts can smoke, snort, or eat it, opening new horizons to people previously afraid of injections.
The availability of heroin doesn’t help matters, either. With doctors cracking down on opiate prescriptions, drug users are turning to heroin for a cheaper fix. Costing as little as $5-10 a glassine, heroin tempts people of all social classes, though surprisingly, the majority of users tends to be white rich kids, those from privileged backgrounds with supportive parents. This is one reason why the heroin battle is one of the least-talked-about problems in the US today, even though death by overdose now trumps the number of traffic fatalities each year.
The heroin these kids buy into no longer comes from Asia, as the first opiates once did. Instead, Mexico caters to the large demand for “black tar,” as they call it, with a group called the Xalisco Boys setting up distribution hubs in suburban areas like Columbus, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They ravage the streets with a distribution system resembling pizza deliveries. With their version of black tar costing less to process than other brands, they market the drug in tenth-of-a-gram doses. Street names like “Bud Ice” and “Theraflu” circulate among young people who share a central hotline number. They call the number from their ever-present cell phones, hop into luxury vehicles, and meet the dealers in nondescript locations. Dealers then produce balloons of dope from within their mouths, take the cash, and leave.
For the Xalisco Boys, the cost of building a life for themselves and their families outweighs the guilt of hooking young kids onto heroin. One drug dealer sitting in a Texas penitentiary confessed, “I’d be lying if I said I’m sorry. I did it out of necessity.” Regardless of motive or fault, dealing drugs and taking drugs both have their consequences, as cities like Pittsburgh in Allegheny County are realizing.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a less-than-satisfactory drug-related incident, Pittsburgh investigation services can help. With extensive background in the DEA, Pittsburgh criminal private investigator Larry Forletta wields the ins-and-outs of drug trade and can help you make things right.