Heroin is not just a city drug anymore: Its use is surging in the smaller communities of New England, the New York Times reports. Last year, 21 people died in Maine from the drug—three times as many as the year before. Over the course of a decade, New Hampshire's yearly death rate has more than quintupled, from seven to last year's 40. And Vermont saw an almost 40% increase in heroin treatment numbers between 2011 and 2012, with 914 getting help last year. Among the reasons: "It’s easier to get heroin in some of these places than it is to get a UPS delivery," says an addiction expert.
The drug often comes from Colombia through Mexico before arriving in big northeastern cities, where it then heads to smaller towns in Massachusetts, the Times notes. In New England's communities, people are willing to spend $30 to $40 for a dose, compared to $6 in New York; dealers grab huge margins, and users still pay far less than they'd pay for prescription painkillers, which are harder to get thanks to tougher rules on doctors. "If the market is flooded with low-priced, high-grade heroin, a significant population is addicted," says a police captain. "That’s the free market." Click through for the Times' full piece. (Read more heroin stories.)