Heroin in Ithaca: Abundant, available and highly profitable

Heroin in Ithaca: Abundant, available and highly profitable

This week, WHCU takes a closer look at the growing problem of heroin in Ithaca and Tompkins County.

From local law enforcement, to area treatment agencies to anti-drug and alcohol advocates, everyone seems to agree that there is no shortage of heroin in the region.

Tompkins County District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson says the county has seen a significant increase in crimes that involve possession or sale of heroin.

“The people entering treatment court with heroin or opiate addiction as a primary reason for getting into treatment has gone way up,” Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson says part of the reason for the increase in usage is the fact that the drug is so abundant for users, and highly profitable for dealers.

“The profit margin on heroin is bigger than the profit margin on cocaine, and it is abundantly available,” she said.

According to data from Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services, one of Ithaca’s two primary treatment agencies, a little over 13 percent of the addicts entering treatment in the year 2007 were addicted to heroin, opiates or oxycontin. In 2012, that number was 48 percent, making it an increase of 35 percent over the last five years.

And those numbers just scratch the surface of how abundant and widespread the drug has become.

Listen to The Morning Newswatch Tuesday when we’ll hear from Rich Bennett, the treatment director at Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services, who has seen firsthand the toll the drug has taken on thousands of local residents.

More Local Headlines

in Local

Ithaca Police seek person of interest in East Hill burglaries


Police say man pictured in surveillance photos is "person of interest" in series of burglaries around East Hill in recent weeks

in Local

2 injured in rollover crash on Route 79


Accident happened around 2:30 a.m. Friday morning at intersection of Route 79, North Landon Road; two people sustained non-life threatening injuries

in Local

NY to spend $2M in fight against invasive species

state leg

Some of the species include zebra mussels and the spiny waterflea.

in Local

Prosecutors seek 580 years for kidnapper of 2 Amish girls


The kidnapper will be sentenced Dec. 17 in federal court in Syracuse.

in Local

Shoppers told to come prepared during holiday weekend


The three most popular shopping days of the year are finally here this weekend.