Heroin's comeback: busts at levels not seen since the '70s.
Mexican dealers are flooding the market with a cheap form of heroin that is more potent than its predecessors, snaring younger users.
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• On July 21, authorities nabbed an East Palo Alto, Calif., gang member with 70 pounds of heroin stashed inside a Lincoln Town Car.
The growing number of arrests – and deaths – reported around the country point to a resurgence of the drug not seen since the 1970s. But unlike three decades ago, authorities say that today's heroin is much more potent. It is also finding its way to younger users, who are moving from prescription pills to harder drugs.
"One thing with higher purity is that ... kids can get hooked much faster," says Special Agent Michelle Gregory, spokeswoman for the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.
What's more, she says, the purer heroin that is being sold on the streets today can be snorted – making it a more "user-friendly" for needle-averse addicts.
Heroin trafficked into California is largely coming across – or under – the Mexican border. While heroin is produced in Afghanistan and Myanmar, most of the heroin sold in the US is cultivated in Mexico and South America and is typically known as "black tar" because of its stickiness, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). But, the agency says, a more potent form of powdered heroin is becoming more prevalent.