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Hockessin Community News
  • Heroin still an issue statewide; Recovery is difficult, but possible

  • In less than a month's time, police have seized large amounts of heroin on three different occasions in the Middletown area.
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  • In less than a month's time, police have seized large amounts of heroin on three different occasions in the Middletown area.
    On Jan. 11, State Police seized more than 31 grams in 1,244 wax envelopes from a Rehoboth Beach man during a traffic stop near the Biddles Toll Plaza.
    On Jan. 17, 105 bags of heroin were found in a car driving on West Main Street.
    And on Jan. 20, a Newark man running from Middletown Police near the Spring Mill neighborhood discarded 650 bags of the drug.
    While the entire state of Delaware has seen an increase in use of the highly addictive drug, it is something that Middletown Police have just started seeing a problem with since last summer.
    Delaware State Police seized more than 4,000 bags of heroin Jan. 18 from a Newark man in the 2400 block of Olden Avenue.
    "It's been increasing in southern New Castle County," said Joseph Connor, who heads the Addictions Coalition of Delaware. "Addiction is like a balloon. If you squeeze it in one place, it comes out of another place."
    Some have attributed the increase in heroin use to the crackdown on prescription medication.
    "There needed to be a crackdown, but now in position where need to look at the heroin situation," Connor said.
    The recent incident that occurred in Spring Mill shows that the problem is not secluded to just one area, police said.
    A police helicopter circle over the quiet Middletown development that Saturday night after police said James Watson, 29, of Newark, led officers on a foot chase after they pulled him over for a traffic violation.
    "The officers saw him throw items on the ground," Middletown Police Chief Henry Tobin said.
    The discarded items turned out to be 650 bags of heroin with a street value of more than $3,000.
    Many of them were stamped with the word "Nuclear."
    "The stamp shows where the heroin is coming from," Tobin said.
    More than a dozen different brandings have turned up during arrests in town, including XL, La Coste, Bugati, Black Knight, Diesel Power, Paper Chaser, White Lion, Ghost, Hammer Time, Quiet Storm, Para Dise, Nuclear, Slammer, and Jack Daniels.
    Dealers and suppliers use these stamps as their trademark to keep buyers coming back to them, police said.
    What sets heroin apart from less dangerous or less addictive drugs, is that with a rise in heroin cases, comes a rise in property crimes.
    Addicts will act at random to steal in order to pay for a fix.
    "It's an addictive drug," Tobin said. "It's not likely the person will have a job."
    Page 2 of 2 - It takes over your health and your desire to eat, Connor said.
    "It takes over and becomes your only physical need," he said. "If that's how you live, pretty soon you're not living. It just slowly kills you."
    In Middletown, there has been a spike in property crimes to correlate the heroin arrests.
    "They are crimes of opportunity," he said, "including thefts from unlocked cars and shoplifting."
    Users will burglarize homes and steal, then turn around and sell what they stole for money to buy the drug, which sells as low as $5 a bag.
    Recently, there was a rash of thefts from motor vehicles in Parkside and the Legends, Tobin said.
    The trends are not exclusive to Middletown.
    When Gerardo Hernandez, 19, was arrested Jan. 18 in Newark with 4,048 bags of heroin, State Police also found him to be in possession of more than $5,000 cash, a .40 caliber Ruger handgun, and a loaded large-capacity rifle magazine – all of which were added to the charges he is facing.
    "What's going on is below the canal to the Dover corridor, more people are moving there," Connor said, "and when more people move there, social ills come with them.
    Other associated charges faced by those arrested by Middletown Police for possessing heroin in the past few months include resisting arrest, possession of heroin with intent to deliver, traffic charges, driving under the influence of alcohol, trespassing, and already being wanted on other charges.
    The drug is also dangerous health wise.
    Heroin takes over your health and your desire to eat, Connor said.
    "It takes over and becomes your only physical need," he said. "If that's how you live, pretty soon you're not living. It just slowly kills you."
    Recovering from a heroin addiction isn't easy, but it's possible.
    "Recovery comes from within," Connor said. "First you have to create the atmosphere and give yourself the opportunity to recover."
    Options to recovery include detox programs, methadone clinics, or 12-step programs.
    Connor said that on a daily basis, he works with some very difficult cases.
    "It's a difficult situation," he said. "It's hard for the family when the addict doesn't care. If an addict seeks help, there's a higher possibility that they will recover."
    "The whole thing about recovery is it comes from within. If willing to surrender, chances of recovery are pretty good."

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