Heroin also known as Tar
Heroin also known as Tar, Brown Sugar, Mud, White Horse, just to name a few is an illegal Schedule I opioid drug made from morphine. Which is often mixed with other substances that can be dangerous and creates a euphoric high, but as the drugs wears off the user will become very tired and nod off. The majorities of addicts who use heroin inject it, however it can be snorted, sniffed, or even spoke. Longtime users practice speedballing, which is mixing heroin with crack cocaine (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018).
Inventions of Heroin
Heroin was synthesized from morphine in 1874 by Charles Romney Alder Wright, but not much was done with the new substance until 1898, when Felix Hoffmann autonomously re-synthesized heroin for Bayer (Lazzara, n.d.). In the early years it was use to relive pain associated with labor and as anesthesia for those undergoing surgery. Heroin was even an ingredient in cough medicine. Once Bayer understood the addictive properties of heroin, the 1924 Heroin Act banned the use of it (Lazzara, n.d.).
Opioid Crisis in South Carolina
According to the SC State Newspaper, SC Governor McMaster’s declared a statewide public health emergency as part of an effort to curb the rising death toll of opioid abuse in South Carolina (Wilks, 2017, p. 1). Over the last year the opioid abuse in South Carolina has been on the rise. McMaster stated the overdoses related to opioids rose from 616 in 2016 from 504 in 2014 (Wilks, 2017, p. 1). In 2016 overdose related deaths were higher in SC than homicide and drinking driving involved cases (Wilks, 2017, p. 1). In order to help decrease fatalities related to opioids death/overdoses; South Carolina lawmakers passed a law in which allows first responders to administer an opioid overdose antidote, which has so far save more than 149 lives in South Carolina.
Smuggling Heroin in the USA
Virtually the entire heroin coming into the US comes in from Mexico borders, according to the US DEA. In 2014 custom officers seized more heroin within six months than in the last three fiscal years (Giblin, 2014, p. xx). The drugs are usually brought in to the states either by someone driving them across the border or by plane or boat. Often dealers hire people called “mules” who unknowing or sometimes knowing carriers the drugs into the states and are given instruction on where to drop the drugs off. Usually the people involved in the process do not know each other. Smugglers will find different ways to get the drugs into the US even it if means concealing the drugs on them personally. If successful in getting the drugs to their designated location: it is then distributed to dealers though out the state who then give it to lower levels dealers to sell on the streets. According to the CDC opioids were involved in 42,249 deaths in 2016, and opioid overdose deaths were five times higher in 2016 than 1999 (“Drug Overdose Death Data | Drug Overdose | CDC Injury Center,” 2017).
In 2016, the five states with the top rates of death due to drug overdose were West Virginia (52.0 per 100,000), Ohio (39.1 per 100,000), New Hampshire (39.0 per 100,000), Pennsylvania (37.9 per 100,000) and (Kentucky (33.5 per 100,000) (“Drug Overdose Death Data | Drug Overdose | CDC Injury Center,” 2017).
Substantial increases in drug overdose death rates from 2015 to 2016 were seen in the Northeast, Midwest and South Census Regions. States with statistically considerable increases in drug overdose death rates included Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin (“Drug Overdose Death Data | Drug Overdose | CDC Injury Center,” 2017).
New to the NDTA findings in 2016 was the onset of fentanyl, used in prescription pills. During the first quarter of 2016 fentanyl was associated with 19 deaths in the states for California and Florida. Also included in the report was that the number of people using heroin tripled from 2007 and 2014. Opioids related deaths increased from 79% in 2013-14. Heroin deaths tripled in 2010-2014 faster than another illicit drugs (“DEA Releases 2016 National Heroin Threat Assessment Summary | CADCA,” n.d.).
The 2017 NDTA findings found that once again fentanyl is on the rise and it is being mixed with diluents or masked as heroin. While heroin continues to be a threat to the United States, the overdose death are still on the rise at increase higher levels than 2016, mainly because heroin is being mixed with other substances. While everyone is concern about the opioids epidemic with meth and heroin, cocaine is making a big comeback according to the NDTA. The Mexican cartel is still the biggest traffickers and threat in the United States (“DEA Releases 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment,” 2017).
In my opinion the best way to prevent drug use is to have controls in place when it comes to prescription drugs. Most people know of the consequences when it comes to using street drugs, but most don’t have a clue the prescription drugs could lead to an addiction. I think that all doctor’s offices and even dentist offices should have someone on staff that can educate the consumer about their prescription drug and the seriousness of the possibilities of addiction. An assessment should be completed before the consumer is even given the prescription, to see if the consumer is mentally stable and does not have a prior history of addiction of any kind. It would be wonderful if physicians would follow up with their patients on how they are managing their prescription and their level of pain. Adjustments should be made immediately if it is discovered that a consumer is taking more than the recommended dosage. I also feel that having educational programs within the schools and communities are a good starting point in battling the crises with opioids abuse. In my opinion if addiction, drug overdose related death, drug dealers and users do not directly have an impact on a person or a community they are less likely to get involved. However, if different originations within a community would get involved by hosting community fairs, going to local churches, getting on social media, the news, etc. to talk preventions verses waiting to report on it after someone has died or there is a drug related crime, it might just get people talking and involved.
South Carolina offers quite a few drug programs, but the programs are hard for those who live in rural areas to have access to them. Once I complete this program I would like to work within the rural areas of South Carolina, to let those people who are dealing with addiction, know that they are not forgotten and there is help for them as well.