is not pot. It’s a combination of prescription meds and well-intentioned crackdowns on the availability of those meds for recreational purposes:
While the shift from OxyContin to other opium-based drugs may be surprising to some, it is not to professionals in the fields of medicine and law enforcement….
John J. Burke, president of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators and a former Cincinnati police officer in charge of pharmaceutical investigations… noted that virtually all of the “anecdotal evidence” on substance abuse points to [unavailability of Oxycontin] moving addicts to different drugs, “whether it’s Oxycodone IR, heroin, [or] maybe it’s Opana.”
Now that Cicero’s study has confirmed that anecdotal knowledge, it’s likely that the FDA will have to take into consideration the possibility that making all opioid drugs abuse-resistant could push many people addicted to pure, measured, clinical substances into a dirty, dangerous black market.
“[Oxycontin] is a relatively safe drug in that you know what you’re getting and you know your dose level,” Cicero said. “But buying heroin — no heroin is pure on the street. It’s cut by dealers to extend it as far as possible. There are reports of heroin purity being down to the 5-10 percent range, so it’s really filled with a lot of adulterants….”
[T]he potential for the emergence of new, more dangerous drugs is also an ever-present threat. One such drug is desomorphine, a.k.a. “crocodile,” seen increasingly across Russia and used as a low-cost alternative to heroin. Cooked out of common codeine-based pills and household products like gasoline, paint thinner and red phosphorus, heroin addicts who switch to crocodile often see their flesh literally rot off their bones.