The latest fad to hit the market is a drug they're calling “Cheese.” The drug is a combination of heroin and cold medicine that comes in the form of brown powder; is sold for $2, and targeted at school-age kids.
“Cheese” is made by mixing powder heroin with cough medicine; possibly with the addition of water or other ingredients, and then snorted. Withdrawl symptoms start within six hours, and addicts typically have to dose themselves up to 15 times per day to maintain their high.
The highly addictive drug is said to have hit the scene in 2005, and has been linked to a string of fatalities in Texas. Now authorities in New York fear it is heading their way. Some say it's not a matter of “if,” but “when?”
Packets of “Cheese” are stamped with child-friendly brands like Lady Gaga, Mickey Mouse, the Looney Tunes logo and characters from the Lion King in order to lure in younger customers. It is referred to as a “starter heroin” by drug enforcement agencies because of the low levels of the heroin it contains.
Over time users build up their tolerance to the drug and eventually need increasingly large amounts to get high before moving on to the real thing.
Authorities have found that children as young as 12 have become hopelessly addicted to the drug and only escaped its clutches with the constant help of their families.