Sunday, February 21, 2010


If it’s happening here, it’s bound to happen in the rest of the country.

By Karn Dhingra

The Galveston County Daily News
February 21, 2010

FRIENDSWOOD — A liquefied version of black tar heroin is gaining ground on marijuana and prescription drugs as the drug of choice for teens in North County suburbs, Friendswood police said.

The teens might not even realize they are using heroin because of the way it’s being marketed by dealers, Lt. Josh Rogers said.

In some cases, teens charged with possession of liquefied heroin, which is dark brown and typically carried in eyedropper vials, knew it only as “Liquid O,” Rogers said.

The “O” stands for opium, the main ingredient in heroin. The mixed drug police are battling comes in various forms.

In 2009, heroin possession accounted for 15 percent of the city’s drug arrests compared to 45 percent for marijuana possession and 24 percent for prescription drugs, Rogers said.

“In 2006 and 2007, liquid heroin was not on our radar,” Rogers said.

Friendswood police made only two heroin-related arrests in 2006 and 2007, Rogers said. But police didn’t realize liquefied heroin was being sold and distributed in the city until they made three arrests in early fall 2008, Rogers said.

“It might have been here earlier, but we didn’t know.”

In 2009, Friendswood police made 30 liquefied heroin-related arrests, Rogers said.

Rogers heads the Friendswood Police Department’s Field Support Unit, which is charged with investigating and suppressing the influx of liquefied heroin in the city.

Liquid O is black tar heroin that has been heated and mixed with warm water and put in half- to one-ounce eyedropper vials that are hard to detect because of their size and ubiquity, Rogers said.

“We’ve found liquid heroin in Visine bottles.”

Dealers also are marketing liquefied heroin against the stereotype of the emaciated heroin user with track-marked arms. Rogers said.

“It’s neater and cleaner than what the typical junkie in the alley is injecting.”

Liquefied heroin is inhaled through the nose rather than injected in a vein and goes for $5 to $10 a drop. One gram of black tar heroin that sells for $400 to $500 can yield up to 90 dosages of liquefied heroin, Friendswood Police Chief Bob Wieners said.

Wieners and Rogers both said the heroin comes from Mexico, South America or Afghanistan and is being distributed from southeast Houston into North Galveston County.

Why North Galveston County?

“We believe the Clear Lake area [where NASA is located] is being targeted because of its affluence,” Wieners said.

Police also have found a connection between users of liquefied heroin and prescription drug abuse. Users addicted to opiate-based drugs such as Hydrocodone and OxyContin have turned to liquefied heroin because it is getting more difficult to obtain prescriptions for the drugs.

And the liquefied black tar heroin is somewhat analogous to crack cocaine, in that even though it’s relatively expensive, the price for single doses is within reach, Rogers said.

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