Liquid heroin on the rise in suburbs

March 15, 2010 3:32:48 PM PDT
An addictive drug is creeping its way into Houston's suburbs, and into the hands of teenagers. Police are arresting more and more youth in possession of the powerful opiate "black tar heroin." "O, liquid O, sludge, tar," said Lt. Josh Rogers with the Friendswood Police Department.

Friendswood police say those are the nicknames teenagers use for black tar heroin. And they say drug dealers are mixing it with warm water and selling it on the street for $10 a dose, much of it to teens.

Lt. Rogers said, "It's not just in Friendswood. We've made arrests outside of the city."

Police believe kids who were once hooked on prescription drugs like Oxycontin and Xanax have made a switch to liquid O because you don't need a prescription to get it and the high is similar. Plus, it's easy to use. Drug dealers found a way to make what is normally an injected drug sniffable.

"It fits real well with teenagers," said Lt. Rogers. "They'll fill up one of these and then dispense this in one of their nostrils and then snort it real good."

The numbers are startling. Friendswood police say in 2008 they made three heroin arrests. In 2009 that number jumped to 37. Police say most users are 17 to 18 years old. That does not surprise local teens who say even in this quiet suburban area, teenage drug use is common.

"It's pretty prevalent. I know a lot of kids who do drugs," said one teen. "I don't, personally."

Another teen said, "They're curious about what's going on. They just want to experience it. "

And once teens experience it, police say they're hooked. That's why they expect even more arrests this year.

"The problem with the heroin is the addiction, how strong the addiction can be and how quickly it can happen," Lt. Rogers said.

We worked on this story through our partnership with Houston Community Newspapers. You can read more in the Friendswood Journal.


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