The Heroin Epidemic in Chicago

Heroin is a controlled substance that is commonly known as smack, H, horse, and other names on the street. When injected into the body or smoked in its freebase form, heroin converts to morphine, causing a highly addictive state of euphoria. The “high” is short-lived, however, and a user will often need more heroin in a short period of time. Additionally, users build tolerances quickly, so the amount of the drugs needed to feed an addiction can be substantial.

The Problem in Chicago

The West Side of Chicago has widely been dubbed to be a heroin “hub”—not only in the Midwest, but on an international level. There is what is referred to as an open market for drugs off the green line of the “L” train, where drug transactions are discussed and completed almost openly. Heroin is one of the main substances sold, and many people in the area are addicted to the drug. Furthermore, many people who grew up in the area turn out to be drug dealers. Though they may have other career options, to them, selling drugs is so common and seems like such an easy choice that it is hard to turn down.

Users often focus solely on buying more heroin, which leads them to spend all of their money on getting a fix. This in turn leads to unemployment, homelessness, and often theft or other crimes in order to pay for their heroin habit. As a result, this area of Chicago has almost been completely taken over by heroin sales and use.

The heroin in the West Side neighborhood is largely thought to be supplied by Mexican cartels, specifically the Sinaloa Cartel, which was led by kingpin El Chapo Guzman. Because of his role in the heroin market, Chicago authorities had named Guzman “Public Enemy Number 1,” though the man had never even been to Chicago. Guzman was arrested earlier this year, though the flow of narcotics into Chicago and the United States as a whole has not slowed.

Penalties for Heroin Offenses

Illinois law treats heroin-related offenses very seriously. If you are arrested with even the smallest amount of heroin, you could be facing Class 4 felony charges and possibly one to three years in state prison. Possessing larger amounts could lead to ten or more years behind bars, with no possibility of probation in lieu of prison time.

If you are believed to be selling, delivering, or otherwise distributing heroin, you could face three to seven years in prison for a minuscule amount. Possessing even 15 grams with the intent to deliver rises to a Class X felony—the highest classification of charge aside from first degree murder. This can mean a prison term of six to 30 years.

Contact a Chicago Heroin Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you or someone you know is in trouble with the law due to heroin possession, distribution, or sale, the consequences could be severe. Chicago criminal defense lawyer Steven Goldman has successfully helped numerous clients facing heroin and other drug charges. Do not hesitate to call Goldman & Associates for assistance today.

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