Rolling Stone Investigation –
May 18, 2018 – The War on Drugs Expanded the Ways People Use Heroin – and Set the Stage for the Opioid Crisis In the Sixties and Seventies, just about all heroin addicts were intravenous users, but as the purity of the drug increased, so did potential methods for use. During the 1960s, heroin use rose, in part, due to soldiers returning from Vietnam who were exposed to the drug overseas, and drug dealers in urban centers seized on this opportunity. Then, in the summer of 1969, when Nixon declared his war on drugs, he cited New York City’s heroin trade as the core of the problem. The speech apparently roused the NYPD, who proceeded to arrest some of the city’s biggest dealers. Meanwhile, suppliers in Asia became concerned that they would lose their distribution. In response, they began setting up their own networks in America’s cities to establish a more discrete trade. Heroin sold in the U.S. saw a bump in purity around this time as a result of this more direct supply line. However, purity levels would soon skyrocket as the heroin market was about to become competitive.