How Heroin Is Invading America’s Schools

Julia Rubin:

What have I become?” 23-year-old Andrew Jones asked his mom shortly before he died. “What’s happened to me?” A star high school athlete who went on to play Division I football for Missouri State University, Andrew was an honors student whom friends described as outgoing, charismatic, and loyal. He was also a heroin addict.
Never even a recreational drug user, Andrew had been the first to discourage friends at his Catholic high school from smoking pot. But his story is frighteningly typical of the current heroin epidemic among suburban American youth. It’s an issue made all the more timely by the recent heroin-related death of Glee star Cory Monteith, best known and beloved for playing squeaky-clean high school football star Finn Hudson.
What Cory and Andrew expose is that heroin isn’t at all what it used to be. Not only is the drug much more powerful than before (purity can be as high as 90 percent) but it’s also no longer limited to the dirty-needle, back-alley experience so many of us picture. Now it’s as easy as purchasing a pill, because that’s what heroin has become: a powder-filled capsule known as a button, designed to be broken open and snorted, that can be purchased for just $10. And it regularly is–on varsity sports teams, on Ivy League campuses, and in safe suburban neighborhoods.