Heroin: old foe a new threat

An editorial from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va. — Illegal drugs have become a deadly merry-go-round in West Virginia. Just when the authorities believe they are making a dent in one form of abuse, another one comes around to take its place. Sometimes the cycle repeats itself.

Police and prosecutors seem to be having some success in cracking down on methamphetamine labs, synthetic drugs and prescription pill abuse. But some say that has resulted in more trafficking in heroin.

Price seems to be a factor. In part because arrests of prescription painkiller pushers have made the law of supply and demand kick in, the pills have become more expensive in some places. Heroin actually is cheaper.

But it is deadlier in some respects. West Virginia now has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation. There were 66 in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available.

In all likelihood, the actual toll is greater…

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