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Alex Roslin looks at the devastating impact Afghan heroin is having in Vancouver in this week’s Georgia Straight, part of an ongoing CCIR investigation.
In a nondescript three-storey building on Cambie Street in the Downtown Eastside, Sherry Grant is at ground zero of a little-noticed heroin revival.
She hasn’t seen so many kids doing heroin since the Nexus substance-abuse program, which she runs, started tracking detailed statistics in 2005.
Nearly two times more of the program’s young clients aged 14 to 24 say they’re using heroin—35 percent today compared to 19 percent in 2005. “It’s crazy. We have definitely noticed an increase in heroin use among youth we work with,” said Grant, whose program is part of the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast B.C. “It’s cheaper and more accessible.”
The clients are getting younger, too. “It used to be their first time was 18 or 20,” she said. “Now it’s somebody who’s 15.”
After years of declining use, smack is back. A new generation of addicts—many younger than before—are getting hooked on a rising tide of heroin pouring into Canada from strife-ridden Afghanistan.