Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The New "Cheese" Incident

Michael over at Corr Sentencing alerts us to a new phenomenon of a drug called cheese. Heroin mixed with cold medicine and sold in small amounts. Inconsistencies in purity are causing deaths among teenagers in Texas. The article is in Newsweek.

Cheap, addictive and often deadly, the new drug has spread virulently in the Dallas area. Since 2005, the year of the first confirmed cheese death, an estimated 21 people have died from the drug. Most of them were young, white or Hispanic males. Cheese arrests among students in the Dallas Independent School District jumped from 90 in the 2005-2006 school year to 145 so far in 2006-2007. The drug's surge in Dallas bucks the national trend in heroin consumption, which declined from 94,000 users age 12 to 17 in 2002 to 60,000 in 2005, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Now the Drug Enforcement Administration is worried that cheese will spread to other parts of the country. The agency is investigating a few possible cases, including one in California.

Cheese is made by grinding up cold medication and mixing it with black-tar heroin, which is typically smuggled in by Mexican drug cartels. A $30 purchase of heroin can yield 40 to 50 cheese hits, each costing about $2—more affordable for users and more profitable for mixers. The drug, which is snorted, derives its name from a supposedly Parmesan-like appearance, though in reality, it looks more like coarse sand. Because the amount of heroin in cheese is sometimes small—as little as 3 percent—the drug rarely shows up in field tests. But the heroin quantity can be inconsistent. "Kids will be scoring 3 percent and all of a sudden, they get 9 or 10 percent, and you are dead," says James Capra, Special Agent in charge of the DEA's Dallas field division.

No comments: