(Pennsylvania Uber Alles is a series of articles devoted to the insane, post-apocalyptic hellscape where I grew up.)
Pennsylvania is already internationally famous as a great place to manufacture crystal methamphetamines in an abandoned trailer in the woods covered in graffiti. But did you know we’re also an amazing place to buy heroin?
Today, the Pennsylvania State Coroner’s Association released its hotly anticipated 2009-2013 Heroin Overdose Death Report. Contained in that report is the claim that heroin, in Pennsylvania, is now cheaper than beer and easier to obtain than wine.
Now, granted, alcohol is notoriously difficult and expensive to obtain in Pennsylvania. Wine is only sold through state-owned Wine and Spirits stores, and if you want more than a glass of beer, you have to buy it from a certified distributor much like in Stalinist Russia. That’s a pain in the ass, but it’s not more of a pain in the ass than going to the post office to buy stamps. Getting heroin, though? Easier than buying stamps. And cost effective!
According to Reuters, the price of a small baggy of heroin, enough to get you fucked up for five or so hours, is only $5 to $10, depending on quality and market fluctuations. A six-pack, even of a crap beer like Corona, is $12 at least. You want a hoity-toity craft brew? Prepare to shell out closer to $20. At those prices, you can’t really afford not to use the mother of all opiates as a booze substitute, which is probably why the Center for Rural Pennsylvania estimates that at any given moment, a full 6% of the Pennsylvania population is actively addicted to some sort of controlled substance.
Traditionally in America, we think of drug addiction as a city slicker problem. We think of tormented artists pouring narcotics into their veins. We think of rich socialites snorting coke up their noses. We think of popular Canadian mayors huddled in basements drunk off their asses and smoking crack. But in Pennsylvania it’s the virtuous, hard-working, industrious country folk that are going home after a hard day on the farm, or in the factory, or at the Walmart, and shooting smack into their temples Jimi Hendrix style. Inner city Philadelphia is one the most drug-addled nightmares in America, and yet the drug-related death rate of Philadelphia County is now rivaled by a dozen rural Pennsylvania counties —even matched by the mountainous Cambria County. Where I went to middle school out in the steep, forested hills of north central Pennsylvania, heroin use was so prevalent among my little town of 5000’s youth that the school had a set protocol for when a student showed up to class strung out on black tar.
- You lock all the students in their classrooms.
- You call the police.
- You call an ambulance.
- You huddle around the tiny window in the hallway door and watch the obese school nurse gallop by with a giant, sternum piercing adrenalin needle.
~Pennsylvania Uber Alles~
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