Heroin Use In The QCA Still On The Rise, Now Spreading To Teens - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Heroin Use In The QCA Still On The Rise, Now Spreading To Teens

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Heroin use in the QCA is still on the rise, but the kind most commonly found in our area is more highly concentrated.

It's called brown heroin which is pure enough to be snorted. It has been in tested in our area to have 20-40% potency levels. Experts say a few years ago in the area it was 4-7% pure. 

More potent means it's more dangerous and teenagers are getting their hands on it.  

"We're seeing it from Sherrard to Davenport, to rural Scott County you're seeing it in rural Henry County, you're seeing in Whiteside County," said Quad Cities Metropolitan Enforcement Group director Kevin Winslow.

It's everywhere and all types of people are using it.

"It transcends age, gender, race, economics," said Winslow.

It's easy to get.

"We're seeing Caucasian high school students. We're seeing high school moms..." said Winslow. 

And that's because this brown heroin , what Quad City MEG agents are seeing now, you don't inject it. You snort it.

"It's much more acceptable than it used to be with younger people," said executive director of the Rock Island County Council On Addictions Mary Engholm. "It's very common to have kids in high school present with heroin use and it's available in the high schools."
Heroin is cheaper and more accessible, with a more intense high and since they don't have to shoot it up, experts said teenagers don't feel like they're a junkie.

"Heroin users don't necessarily stick a needle in their arm anymore," said Engholm. "They snort it and have other delivery systems so that makes it a little bit easier for some teenagers to do that."

Our experts say teenagers in our area have already been exposed to prescription pain killers like hydrocodone and switching from pills to heroin is usually the next step. 

"Their bodies are used to that type of high so it's a logical step for them to seek out the heroin," said Winslow. 

And this heroin is deadly. Rock Island County has already had 3 deadly overdoses this year. They had 5 all of last year.

So how do you know?  How do you know what your kids are up to?

"Letting your kid, if you have suspicions don't let them have large amounts of accessible cash," said Engholm. "Watch who they're hanging with, what they're doing."

We are looking at heroin in the Quad Cities because of a nationwide effort from NBC. The next two nights, watch Nightly News for in depth pieces about this epidemic nationwide.

You can join the conversation right now on Twitter by using #HeroinInAmerica. We're looking for your questions and your stories about how this drug has affected you or your family. 


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