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Heroin, cocaine potent, cheap, available

State report on drug trends released

By Alan Johnson GateHouse Media Ohio Published: July 14, 2017 3:18 PM

Heroin, cocaine and other illegal drugs remain widely available throughout Ohio, often at bargain prices, a new state report reveals.

If that isn't bad enough, the quality of the drugs is "is really good, too good. We've lost 12 friends in the past year (to overdoses)," said one respondent in the just-released Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network Report. The semi-annual statewide report of drug availability trends is done by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

The report is prepared from interviews with drug users, treatment providers, law enforcement, and information from coroner's reports, the courts, police and county crime labs, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and media accounts.

The newest report, covering June 2016 to January 2017, said marijuana, cocaine and heroin can be easily purchased in all eight regions of the state.

Heroin is "available everywhere" in the state, the report said. The highly addictive drug is cheap, with prices ranging from $10 to $20 for a "balloon" of heroin, about one-tenth of an ounce. Drug dealers are trying new ways to attract buyers, such as in Cincinnati where "it is commonplace for dealers to throw heroin testers (free samples) into cars traveling in that city to get people to try their product.

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Powdered heroin is the most common form of the drug because the cost can be reduced by cutting the drug with other ingredients, sometimes opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil, but also with baby formula, caffeine, flour, powdered cleanser, ice tea mix, sleep medications, and artificial sweetener, the report said. Some dealers are adding food colors to make heroin green, orange, pink and purple.

The spiraling number of overdose deaths in the state, more than 4,100 last year according to coroner's reports, is leading some drug users to "track overdoses back to dealers who sold the potent drug in order to obtain the 'good stuff' for personal use."

Heroin is known by the street names of scag, dog food, brown, puppy and China white, the trends report said.

There is no "typical" user of heroin, the report said, because use of the addictive drug "spans all demographic groups." However, blacks are now showing up more frequently in heroin use trends, the report said, as are younger people, particularly females.

Cocaine, both in powder and crack form, is "just a phone call away" in most parts of Ohio, the report said. The quality is reported to be high, although cocaine is frequently cut with acetaminophen, anesthetics including benzocaine, pet and livestock dewormers, and even Vitamin B-12. It is known by the street names of blow, girl and rock.

The report focused on the Columbus region said heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine are available everywhere, although much of the heroin is actually straight fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger. Crystal meth is also reportedly being shipped to the area from "superlabs" in Mexico.


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