If you’re a victim of heroin dependence, you’re already descending into a criminal world full of dealers, drug bosses, and crime lords. But the worse thing for any addict can be your first point of contact, the street dealer in your neighborhood.
Take, for example, two recent arrests in Solano County, California. One of the men was staked out because officials suspected that he was violating the terms of his Post-Release Community Supervision (PRCS). PRCS is a program that allows nonviolent offenders to go back on the street under the supervision of county officials rather than those of the state. The idea is that county officials have a better chance of following who’s being naughty and who’s being nice.
The two men arrested, Andrew Mitchell and Eric Perry, were found along with 47 grams of marijuana, $2,000 in drug money, and a cache of stolen guns. Among the firearms was a .380 semi-automatic handgun as well as an assault weapon. This latter came with a magazine specially outfitted to convert the gun into the perfect deadly tool for a mass shooting. Not too nonviolent, right? Are Mitchell and Perry the kind of dopes you expect to get mixed up with when you buy your dope?
Heroin Dependence on the Rise
Experts realize that violent crime has intensified as heroin dependence has increased. Way back in the Seventies, only street junkies used heroin, serviced by despicable dealers who dispensed their drugs from buckets carried into back alleys. By the Eighties, people were getting sick from using dirty needles—not just hepatitis, but from HIV/AIDS, and heroin use decreased.
But heroin never completely went away, and over the last decade heroin dependence has once again reared its ugly head. With the waxing popularity of medications like Vicodin and OxyContin, addicts have discovered that their initial supplies of these dandy drugs dry up, and the cost to get more becomes exorbitant. It is easier, in the end, to meet and hold hands with that old faithless friend—heroin.
How is heroin dependence related to increased criminal activity? Statistics tell us that those found guilty of crimes involving property or breaking the public order involve someone looking for drug money only 7 to 10 percent of the time. However, of those jailed for using drugs, a full 25 percent of them are trying to raise the money to buy what they need when they are taken into custody.
You Have to Make a Change
There’s no way to find out how many people actually die during drug deals, because those deaths are covered up. Those struggling with heroin dependence really put themselves at risk of violence, simply by associating with the kind of people who buy and sell illegal drugs. If you are aware of a relative or friend who has developed some level of heroin dependence—or if you are that person—then wake up and smell the coffee. Call a methadone clinic, because it’s time to get new friends.