By William Westhover for The Daily Record
"A Morristown[NJ]-based pharmaceutical company hopes a medical breakthrough it patented last month may break the lethal cycle of rising opioid addiction and overdoses, once and for all."
By Ed Leefeldt for MoneyWatch
"First, get rid of the addiction fiction claiming that people choose to become junkies. “Perhaps 5 percent of addicts do it for the euphoria,” said Seidner, who spent years detoxing prisoners. “Most take opioids to relieve suffering from chronic pain.”
And that’s scary because it puts an estimated 50 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain in the cross-hairs of potential addiction. They come to doctors’ offices complaining of bad backs, repetitive stress, falls, strains and “soft tissue” injuries."
By Eli Saslow, the Washington Post
"In the addicted America of 2016, there are so many ways to take measure of the pain, longing and despair that are said to be driving a historic opiate epidemic: Another 350 people starting on heroin every day, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; another 4,105 emergency-room visits; another 79 people dead. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States - worse than guns, car crashes or suicides. Heroin abuse has quadrupled in the past decade. Most addicts are introduced to heroin through prescription pain pills, and doctors now write more than 200 million opiate prescriptions each year."
ABC CHANNEL 6: Pennsylvania investigators said Thursday they charged six people after recovering more than a quarter ton of cocaine from a Philadelphia warehouse and two vehicles.
Authorities claim the defendants are part of a drug ring that smuggled cocaine from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to the United States.
The 511 pounds, or 232 kilograms, of cocaine was estimated to have a street value of $23 million.
So what are the origins of the modern day drug war as we know it? Did it start as an altruistic fight to save the citizenry, or did it all stem from a political agenda?....
Dan Baum, for Harper's Magazine. May 24, 2016:
"At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman [President Nixon's domestic-policy advisor] a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. 'You want to know what this was really all about?' he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. 'The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."
By Harriet Ryan, Lisa Girion, and Scott Glover, LA Times. May 5, 2016:
"OxyContin’s stunning success masked a fundamental problem: The drug wears off hours early in many people, a Los Angeles Times investigation found. OxyContin is a chemical cousin of heroin, and when it doesn’t last, patients can experience excruciating symptoms of withdrawal, including an intense craving for the drug."
OxyContin is widely blamed for setting off an opioid abuse epidemic that has claimed over 199,000 lives in the US since 1999. In 2007, the company and three top executives pleaded guilty to fraud for downplaying the drug’s risks of addiction, and were ordered to pay $635 million in fines.
By Barbara Laker, for PhillyNews.com:
IN A BEAT-UP maroon Toyota Corolla, Carol Rostucher drives slowly up Kensington Avenue, the street of tortured souls lost in heroin's handgrip.
She scans the young faces, the ones with the faraway eyes of self-disgust. One of them might be her son, Drew, a handsome 25-year-old. He was her first-born, once an athletic, artistic "social butterfly." She knows he is out here.
"As long as he's breathing, there is hope," she says.
Ex-Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell brings the reality home in this essay published by Philly.com
By Ed Rendell for Philly.com. February 3, 2016
"Last year, 44,000 people died of drug overdoses. and 52 percent of them were related to prescription drugs. More than 2 million Americans are dependent on opioid pain killers and, every day, 44 Americans die from an overdose of these drugs.
When the cost of these pain killers becomes too great, addicts will turn to the use of low-cost heroin. In 2007, there were 373,000 heroin addicts in the United States, and 2,400 deaths resulted from a heroin overdose. By 2014, those numbers ballooned to 914,000 addicts and 10,500 overdose deaths. The overdose death rate of people ages 25 to 34 was five times higher in 2014 than it was in 1999.
As you read these statistics, you are probably stunned, horrified, saddened, and angry. But you’ll put the newspaper down and go about dealing with the challenges of your life. As bad as these facts are, they don’t affect you — it’s not personal."
Heroin is killing people at an alarming rate, and much of it is coming from Philadelphia. This NBC10 segment focuses on who is getting rich at the expense of our families, what authorities are doing about it and what you can do about it.
The essay Narco-Dollars for Beginners: "How the Money Works" in the Illicit Drug Trade should be read by all Americans, but particularly sincere members of law enforcement and government. Written by Catherine Austin Fitts, a former managing director and member of the board of directors of Dillon Read & Co, Inc, and former Assistant Secretary of Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner in the first Bush Administration.
Click here to read Narco Dollars For Beginners
By Tom Davis, Westfield Patch. April 15, 2016.
"A "second wave" of heroin abuse's effects has hit New Jersey, impacting young suburban users, according to a report. A newly released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report says two out of every five suburban heroin users in New Jersey are likely to be infected with hepatitis C - a virus, or infection, that causes liver disease and inflammation of the liver."
Hard-hitting street level documentary on the drug trade in North Philadelphia, filmed on the same streets that are mentioned in this website. Highly recommended. 45 minutes.
Kate Kilpatrick, Al Jazeera America
"Philadelphia’s homicide rate has dropped from the highs of the mid-2000s, when it earned the nickname Killadelphia. Still, there were 277 murders in the city last year, many of them tied to the drug trade. Retired Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsay told The Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this year that drug-related killings increased 55 percent in 2015 from the year before.
Parts 1 and 2 of a three-part series on the heroin and opiate epidemic that has wreaked havoc on an inner-city Philadelphia neighborhood since long before the problem became a popular bipartisan campaign issue.
UK's Channel 4:
"Directed by Leo Regan and originally televised in 2001, 'Cold Turkey' tells the story of Lanre Fehintola a photojournalist who experimented with heroin whilst working on a book featuring drug addicts. 'Cold Turkey' tells the story of Lanre a year after Regan's original documentary 'Don't Get High on Your Own Supply' which followed Lanre after five years of addiction.
Larne is plunged back into heroin addiction and Regan's film 'Cold Turkey' follows Larne's desperate bid to kick his heroin addiction through cold turkey.
This programme presents the unique dynamic between the film maker and his subject and raises questions regarding friendship, reflexivity; ethnography and impartiality. It also serves to present the vast physiological and psychological difficulties encountered with heroin addiction and withdrawal."
AOL.com. July 27, 2015
"Heroin use in the United States is reaching epidemic levels, increasing a staggering 63% in just 11 years. With the skyrocketing usage, comes a dramatic rise in heroin-related deaths — overdoses nearly quadrupled between 2002 and 2013. David McCarthy's story reveals the harsh realities of the heroin epidemic facing America today.
David was home in Maine for a short visit, and was planning to spend the winter at his family's ski home. One evening, he and his father Kevin spent the evening watching football together, before David went up to his room for the night. The following morning, Kevin went off to work for the day, not knowing of the tragedy that occurred in his own house."
"Brenda Myers Powell had a childhood of terrible abuse then spent twenty five years working as a prostitute in the American city of Chicago. But now she's broken out of this destructive cycle, to help other women and girls avoid the life she led. She's set up an organisation called The Dreamcatcher Foundation. When she isn't going into schools to offer advice to young girls, she drives her brightly coloured van through the city streets, giving support to prostitutes."
Alex Sachdev, Phillyvoice.com. March 23, 2015.
"In the last decade, suburban Riverside and its neighbors have seen a dramatic rise in not only the number of addicts, but in opioid-related overdoses and deaths, and drug-related crimes.
There were 741 heroin-related deaths in New Jersey in 2013, a 160 percent increase since 2010, the state Attorney General’s office reported. Suburban Burlington County saw nearly 300 drug-related overdose cases, more than half of which were from illicit drugs, according to the county’s Freeholder’s Office.
“It’s an epidemic,” Miller says. “That’s what everyone does here for recreation. Unless you’re in recovery and you actually have a good support system, that’s what everyone else does.”