Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Are Mexican Drug Cartels "Marketing" Heroin to Pain-Killer Addicts in St. Louis?

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge Any good business needs good advertising. - RICHIEC/WIKIMEDIA
  • richiec/Wikimedia
  • Any good business needs good advertising.

A Washington Post article this week reported on the rise of heroin coming into the United States and mentions Mexican drug traffickers' "shrewd marketing strategy": targeting areas where prescription-drug abuse is high, including St. Louis.

According to the story, drug cartels aren't making as much money on marijuana, mainly because laws are changing in the U.S., and the need for Mexican weed isn't as high as it once was. The cartels are still making money off of cocaine and human trafficking, but cartel leaders have mansions and tigers to pay for, so heroin is coming into the U.S. at a greater pace.

But the cartels aren't just picking areas of the U.S. at random. Rather, they've decided to cut in on the pharmaceutical companies' action:

DEA officials say the spread is the result of a shrewd marketing strategy developed by Mexican traffickers. They have targeted areas with the worst prescription pill abuse, sending heroin pushers to "set up right outside the methadone clinics," one DEA agent said.

And St. Louis is one of the places mentioned where the illegal drug cartels are competing with the legal drug cartels.

See also: Heroin: O'Fallon Mom Speaks of Daughter's Overdose, Rallies Against "The Silent Killer"

The rise in heroin usage in the St. Louis area over the past few years has been much talked about. And prescription opiates, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, have often been blamed for being the "gateway drug" for heroin users.

That still appears to be the case, but going from prescription pills to heroin seemed like a natural progression on the road of drug abuse, not a result of narco-marketing. If Mexican drug cartels are indeed purposely targeting areas of the country with significant prescription-drug problems, it means people with painkiller addictions are being tempted by a cheaper, often easier-to-get drug that has been brought in the country to cater their needs.

Click on the next page for more heroin...

Tags: , ,

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation