Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Poppy's Revenge Pt. 2

Poppy's Revenge Pt. 1 can be found here.

One of our local papers, the Kentucky Post, today published a shocking story that could, apart from the successful criminal prosecution described, have been written one, two or even three years ago.
The story, headlined Burglary Led To Heroin Arrests, is a wake-up call to the sleepy communities inhabiting the rolling hills of Kentucky's northernmost point:

It began with a petty burglary...It developed into a year-long investigation... into heroin use...that so far [h]as resulted in more than 70 arrests...Three years ago, heroin overdoses were blamed for five deaths in Kenton and Campbell counties...But the most eye-opening aspect of the probe...were the sheer numbers of people found to be hooked on heroin.

Elements of this previously unreported story have been the talk among concerned families in this area for some time.
I was concerned that certain important information wasn't contained in the story.
I sent this email to the Editor:

I want to first compliment you for covering the growing and shocking problem of heroin abuse in a county and among people near and dear to my heart.
The Burglary Led to Heroin Arrests story, while frightening, left some informational gaps and highlighted the absurdity of the Bush administration's decision, announced Tuesday May 3rd, to shift the White House Office of Drug Control Policy away from heroin and cocaine abuse and toward marijuana.
Your article stated that "much - but not all - of the heroin used in northern Kentucky still comes from the streets of Cincinnati" but where, I and I'm sure many of your readers wonder, does Cincinnati's street heroin come from?
On November 18, 2004 the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America published tragically relevant information:

Heroin prices are lower in New York City…than in the non-metropolitan areas...$10 vs. $20-$25 per bag [in the NYC suburbs].

Users, known as "jugglers" travel to NYC to buy "cheap" heroin and resell it in their own communities, according to CADCA, "often by misrepresenting it as cocaine."
Your article did not mention the current local street prices for a "bag" of heroin, cocaine or marijuana or make what I would imagine to be highly interesting comparisons to their historical prices in this area.
Would your readers be surprised to know that cannabis or hemp was, until 1922 when it was outlawed by the Federal government, Kentucky's largest cash crop?
I would suspect the heroin price is significantly lower now than it has been for decades while marijuana prices are staggeringly higher.
Consequently, kids who once would have experimented with relatively harmless marijuana now turn to affordable heroin or perhaps what they thought was affordable cocaine.
But, where does New York's heroin come from?
Recently it was reported that an "Afghan accused of being one of the world's biggest heroin traffickers and of close ties to the ousted Taliban regime" was arrested trying to enter New York City.
A November 19, 2004 story in the New York Times reported that:

Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan…was up sharply this year, reaching the highest levels in the country's history…More than 321,236 acres of land were planted with poppy in 2004, a 64 percent increase over last year...The harvest in 2004 was estimated at 4,200 metric tons, an increase of 17 percent from last year.

The Associated Press on April 27, 2005 reported that Afghanistan's 2004 opium crop yielded "nearly 80 percent of world supply".
President Bush has, since 2002, refused to allow United States intervention in Afghan opium production believing that the drug trade is of short term importance to Afghanistan's economic viability.
Is it just another Bushian conspiracy that Campbell and Kenton Counties' tsunami of what I assume to be "cheap" heroin coincides with world events and our failed efforts to combat aspects of terrorism?
Does the walking death of heroin addiction equate with a more explosively achieved terrorist murder?
I thank you for these first steps of coverage and I urge your paper to impartially report all aspects of this needless horror for the sake and survival of our children, parents and communities.

Image: AP
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