Heroin is on the rise across the country and in Kansas City. The Kansas City Star is reporting this week that even the suburban families of Johnson County are not immune to heroin’s cheap and potent lure, making what was once considered a back-alley secret, more of a living room party drug.
According to the Star, police in Blue Springs dealt with 5 cases of youth and heroin, after more than 5 years of seeing none. In Johnson County, the Sheriff’s department report 24 heroin overdoses and 5 deaths in 2008. In the first half of 2009, the latest period for which they have data, there were 22 overdoses and 6 deaths. In 2010, that number is expected to be even more.
While we are constantly hearing of the prescription drug trade and how it is reaching across socio-economic lines and growing steadily, that trade may be contributing to the rise in heroin usage.
Heroin is an opiate—so is Oxycontin, one of the most popularly abused prescription drugs. While painkillers like Oxycontin can cost $40 to $60 per pill, a bag of heroin is often less than $10.
Heroin also produces a much more intense high than prescription opiates. This means that a habit starting with prescription drugs can quickly turn into a heroin habit, given cheaper and more intense highs.
And while many people think their communities are immune to heroin infiltration, that isn’t necessarily the case. More and more people are able to buy their heroin from dealers who live within the suburbs just like them, totally undetectable to their neighbors, friends, and family.
The Star focuses on heroin abuse of young people and that is a serious problem. But heroin can and does affect adults as well. But, if you are an adult caught with heroin, you are much more likely to get a jail sentence than help.
Possession of heroin is a Level 4 felony and carries a potential 3 ½ years in prison. It is one of the most heavily punished drugs because of the risk for addiction and its classification as a Schedule I drug. In Missouri, possession of heroin is a Class C Felony, which carries a maximum of 7 years in prison.
When you have a drug problem, whether it’s heroin or prescriptions, you need help more than you need jail time. Depending on the case against you and your criminal history, a defense attorney may be able to help get you into treatment when you are facing similar drug charges.
If you charged with possession of heroin or even distributing meth or any controlled sustance, in Missouri or Kansas, contact me today. We can discuss your case, your options, and how I might be able to help.