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Introduction – Cheese Heroin is a low cost – low quality form of the deadly drug that has made its way to Colorado from such origins as Dallas, Texas. The drug is popular because of its low cost and it’s availability. In Texas it has led to the deaths of many young adults and children.
“Cheese” is a combination of heroin and chopped-up Tylenol or cold medications. The final product resembles parmesan cheese. Cheese offers a very low-cost high, with a package of cheese being sold for as little as $2.
The drug is being used by children as young as 10 years of age.
Since 2005 in the Dallas Texas area there have been 21 deaths mostly teenagers associated with cheese heroin. The cheap and highly addictive drug that is known on the streets, as cheese heroin can be bought as little as $2 in some cases. This makes it popular with those of low income that uses drugs.
Cheese heroin is made by crushing over-the-counter medications that contain the antihistamine diphenhydramine and black tar heroin. The over-the-counter histamine is found in products such as Tylenol PM. The nighttime sleep aid mixed with the sedative effects of heroin makes it a deadly duo.
Purchase of cheese heroin can be made for around $10 a gram or a single dose called a “bump” for as little as $2. Narcotic authorities are not sure where the name cheese heroin came from. Most suspect it is because the appearance resembles Parmesan cheese.
This type of heroin is snorted and not injected. The drug first made its appearance in several public middle and high schools in the Dallas area. Some police agencies also refer to it as “starter heroin” due to it is usually targeted at young children. The demographic group most frequently charged with possession of this drug is Hispanic teens.
Symptoms of the use of cheese heroin begin in the first few hours after use. Some things to look for are:
•Headache, chills, nausea, vomiting
•Muscle spasms, muscle and bone aching
•Anxiety, agitation, disorentation
•Symptoms can last up to six days
Overdoses are common with the combination of this drug and other depressants such as alcohol. This can and often does cause respiratory arrest followed by death. Deaths directly attributed to this form of heroin are difficult to confirm because coroners offices frequently do not have a way to track cause of death to one specific form of drug.
The Dallas Morning News on April 15, 2007 published the results of a lengthy analysis of autopsy results between 2005 and 2007. It suggested that as many as 17 deaths among adolescents during that time were attributed to cheese heroin. With the likelihood, that this drug will be combined with the use of alcohol by teens this number is expected to rise.
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is working with Dallas authorities to raise public awareness of the drug. They are also trying to identify traffickers. The DEA is always aware of new street drugs and attempt to get a hold of it before it spreads to other cities.
Cheeses heroin is highly addictive. First time users can experience withdrawal symptoms six hours after initial use. Health officials strongly advise parents of any teens that have been using cheese heroin to seek the rehabilitation services of an experienced drug rehabilitation hospital.