The Heroin Epidemic In Westchester Just Keeps Getting Worse


Westchester’s Heroin Epidemic has led to many deaths due to overdoses. (courtesy of Pixbay)

Jenna Febbo, Health and Beauty Editor

Westchester’s heroin epidemic has had a busy 2016 and it might be getting busier. Health officials have now warned Westchester and the Hudson Valley of a fatal batch of heroin that might be coming in from the Midwest, News 12 reported.

The fatal batch of heroin is laced with elephant tranquilizers, which is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It has led to 78 overdoses and at least six deaths in the Midwest, according to News 12. This would not be the first of fatal laced heroin Westchester has seen. In July, a 26-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman from Harrison overdosed on heroin that was laced with Fentanyl, a powerful painkiller. Seven people were arrested in relation to the deaths.

The usage of heroin in Westchester picked up in 2007 and has not slowed down. Since 2003, there have been 460 opioid related deaths in Westchester and 365 of those deaths came between 2007-2014. There were 1,311 controlled substance arrests in Westchester in 2015, according to

Heroin seems to be the drug of choice for young adults who are looking to relieve some type of pain. Corina Guglielmo, a Prevention Counselor, says it is very common for heroin addicts to start off with prescription painkillers and then switch over to heroin.

“Painkillers are highly addictive and it becomes expensive to continue an opiate addiction from pill form,” Guglielmo said. “Heroin also provides relief more quickly than taking pills. Teenagers and college kids are struggling with anxiety more than ever and heroin is a drug that seemingly helps them self medicate vs. cocaine that would instead magnify their anxiety.”

Guglielmo also says that this generation of young adults are “bored” of drugs like marijuana and are looking for something to get them higher. She also says that most of the time, drug users don’t even know whether drugs they have purchased are laced or not.

“The majority of drugs like heroin and cocaine are laced. It is more unlikely to find pure heroin than it is to end up using laced heroin and not even knowing it,” Guglielmo said.

The heroin epidemic is a sensitive subject for the town of Harrison because of its longlist of heroin related deaths within the past few years. The Harrison Police Department announced in July that they would not charge local addicts if they came to them seeking help. They have partnered with SOBA College Recovery in New Jersey to do so.