Heroin, a drug that had been dying out in use, is now seeing a resurgence in popularity that is worrying addictions experts.
Over the past several years, heroin has been centre stage at news conferences following big police drug busts.
- Surge in heroin-related deaths in NYC
- OxyContin abusers switching to heroin
- Insite supervised injection site marks 10-year milestone
But, experts say that is just one indication of heroin's resurgence.
"There's 17- and 18-year-olds that are getting onto this stuff because [for] $10 you get a bundle," says Connie Thompson,a former heroin addict turned addictions counsellor. "That'll get you going for a few hours."
Addicts who are finding prescription drug addiction — such as addiction to OxyContin — too expensive or the pills too hard to obtain, turn to more readily available heroin, says Dr. Evan Wood from the University of British Columbia. This has contributed to heroin's return "as a problem drug in our society."
The drug is now cheaper and more potent than ever before.
Dennis Long from Toronto's Breakaway Addiction Services finds it particularly troubling when addicts switch their drug of choice.
He says people are often uninformed about what they're doing with the new substance, which can be dangerous.