There's a Heroin Epidemic in Miami-Dade, According to Government Research

By all accounts, it seemed like 2013 was the year of Molly. Newspapers across the country published alarmist reports about the popular party drug, which -- to no one's surprise -- often turns out to be a mix of amphetamines and bath salts. But if a recently released report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse is to be believed, there's a much more insidious substance taking over Miami-Dade. According to the federal government research institute, there's a heroin epidemic in South Florida.

Prior to 2011, Floridians were easily able to obtain synthetic heroin from pain clinics that dispensed Oxycodone like candy. Sketchy doctors were so prevalent here that state was nicknamed "the Oxy Express." After a crackdown, regular ol' heroin use rose sharply, and then rose sharply again in 2012.

See also: Miami's Molly Is Full of Meth, Coke, Bath Salts, and Other Terrible Stuff, Playboy Reports

"It's the rapid escalation that's disturbing," James N. Hall, the study's author, told the Miami Herald. "This is the mother of all addictions, related to so much destruction and so many serious consequences, particularly death, most of which are preventable. To declare it an epidemic is a public-health responsibility."

Shutting down the Oxy Express caused a simple economic dilemma. Supply went way down, so prices soared through the roof. Addicts switched to the street stuff because it was cheaper and easier to obtain. Hall also told the Herald that Mexican white heroin flooded the state around the same time, which was as cheap as $10 a baggie.

Although we won't know how many people OD'ed from heroin until that data is released in summer, the prognosis doesn't look good. The number of smack related deaths jumped from 15 in 2011 to 33 in 2012 -- a full 120 percent.

Send your story tips to the author, Allie Conti.

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter: @allie_conti

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