The people who treat addiction see heroin moving into second place in Illinois. Alcohol is still No. 1, but heroin has surged past crack over the last year for No. 2, says Dr. Dan Lustig, vice president of the Haymarket Center, an addiction treatment organization. “Heroin has jumped crack by over 30 percent, so when you look at heroin in the collar counties, you're seeing a 200 percent spike. Downstate, you've seen a 237 percent spike over cocaine and crack,” he said.
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He says heroin is getting cheaper, about $8 a hit, and purer, so users don’t have to inject it to start with, which makes it easier for young people, age 18-24, to get involved, and they are less likely to understand the health consequences. Lustig says meth use is down, but it exists in pockets in rural areas and in Chicago.