Fifteen years ago, Carroll County, Maryland, grabbed national attention when a group of residents made a short film titled "Heroin Kills." In it, parents shared their stories of how they dealt with their children's addiction to the drug. Sadly, some of those children overdosed and died. One positive thing that came out of this tragedy is that the rate of heroin use in the area declined. But now, it seems like the drug may be resurfacing.
Between 2011 and 2012, the number of heroin-related deaths in Carroll County jumped from two to 13. Local public health and law enforcement officials attribute the increase in usage to the prescription drug abuse crackdown.
"You've got people who were stealing it from their grandparents', their parents' medicine cabinets, so eventually that had to dry up," said Linda Auerback of the Carroll County Health Department to the Carroll County Times, a local newspaper. "They're already addicted, so what are they going to turn to? Heroin."
Opioid-based painkillers and heroin have the same chemical base and produce a similar high. As prescription narcotics become scarce or too expensive, addicts commonly make the jump to heroin. In addition to being more readily available, this street drug is also cheaper.
Unlike prescription medications, though, users cannot know if heroin has been cut with even more deadly and dangerous substances. Addicts are taking a risk every time they ingest the drug.