Newport Beach, California, is an affluent city in between San Diego and Los Angeles; a popular tourist attraction in the summer and beach haven for locals who surf “The Wedge”. A number of teenagers engage in risky behavior with certain drugs that would be unaffordable for most kids, but, most kids do not receive a Porsche upon their sixteenth birthday. In the past cocaine was the most popular drug after marijuana, there typically isn’t a party that doesn’t have a group of kids openly engaging in cocaine use. The times are changing thanks to the rise in prescription opiate use, which has prompted a number of young adults and teenagers, as young as fourteen or fifteen, to start using Mexican black tar heroin sold one city over in Santa Ana by Mexican gangs. Users are often attracted to black tar for the fact that it does not have to be injected; it can be both snorted and smoked on tin foil.
On Wednesday, the Newport Beach Police Department reported a dramatic rise in heroin-related arrests amongst young adults and teenagers. They noted that this demographic in the past was typically not associated with heroin. As the price of prescription opiates sold on the streets goes up, people look to heroin to supplement their habit, according to the Daily Pilot. Oxycontin is being sold for a dollar a milligram, so an 80 milligram pill goes for $80; heroin, on the other hand, is generally sold for no more than 50 dollars a gram making the choice to buy it that much easier.
“In speaking with many of these young heroin users, it seems they are being first exposed to heroin by friends who use the drug or while they are at social gatherings," said Newport Beach police Det. Elijah Hayward. "Some of the people we have talked to were first introduced to the drug when they were 14 or 15 years old."
Every year that passes authorities make more busts associated with the drug than the year before which has caused much concern.