The Mid Atlantic part of the country, namely New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey but not exclusively – we can throw Maryland, Delaware and Virginia in that group too – has a culture unto itself, just like other sub-regions of the States. As for the drug culture of the Mid-Atlantic region, the top drug of choice is heroin. This is not to say that cocaine, crack, prescription pills such as benzos and painkillers, and even meth are not also being abused in this part of the country. But, going on personal experience of the folks who travel from the Mid-Atlantic region who venture south to Florida for its plethora of detox programs, I’d venture to say that 9 times out 10, it’s for heroin.
Large-Scale Drug Bust in Trenton, NJ
Earlier this year, a state grand jury indicted 15 people for running a multi-million dollar drug ring based in Paterson, NJ that supplied heroin throughout the northeast, including northern New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.
New Jersey is home to some of the purest heroin in the country, and with a dense population and a sprawling highway system, the Northeast is a hot spot for heroin distribution, Crowell said.
Why New Jersey is Prime for Heroin
With sprawling highways, one of the nation’s largest airports and three large ports, the state has the infrastructure to support a successful heroin racket. Now, thanks to a surge in painkiller addictions and some clever new marketing by dealers, the state’s heroin economy is booming.
“The demand is here,” he said. “We have the network between the airports and the seaports and the highways connecting to New England, and south to Washington, and west to Pittsburgh, which are the transportation networks these guys were using.”
Heroin, New Jersey, and the Numbers
Statewide, the number of young people between the ages of 18 and 25 admitted to addiction treatment centers for heroin rose by more than 12% between 2010 and 2011, the last year for which data is available, according to Gov. Chris Christie’s Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
New Jersey is battling an ongoing opioid boom that has seen young pill addicts turn to heroin once they lose access to prescription painkillers. In New Jersey, the number of young people (between the ages of 18 and 25) admitted to treatment for heroin addiction rose by 40% over the past decade.
Painkillers: To Blame for Heroin Epidemic in Mid-Atlantic?
What is significant about this cycle is the introduction of prescription opiates that have come upon the scene,” said Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony Kearns III. “We’re seeing a greater number of addictions to heroin as a result of prescription painkillers.”
Teens and 20-somethings have fallen into what the Drug Enforcement Administration calls a “cycle of addiction,” graduating from painkillers to heroin, according to Brian Crowell, the DEA’s top agent in New Jersey.
The market is flooded, the price has dropped, and with a generation of young, tech-savvy opiate addicts running low on cash and pills, the demand for heroin has exploded.
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