By now, it is no secret that heroin is hugely popular on the streets of the United States. This is especially true in New England. To more of an extent, the state of Maine is being hit harder by the heroin epidemic than other places. According to the Portland Press Herald:
In Maine, the number of people seeking treatment more than tripled from 1,115 in 2010 to 3,463 in 2014. Overdose deaths in that same period spiked from 16 to 100. In July, Portland had 14 suspected heroin overdoses during one 24-hour period, resulting in two fatalities.
Due to Maine residents’ love of the dope, the northern state is seen as prime real estate for boy dealers, especially Mexican cartels. Cartels can buy kilos of opium paste for anywhere from $100 to $900 from farmers operating the 42,000 acres poppy fields capable of producing 46 tons of pure heroin. It takes seven to ten kilos of opium paste to make one brick of heroin. Once that kilo crosses the border, it is worth $25,000 to wholesalers.
The kilos are broken down into smaller increments for sale on the street. In New York, a “ticket,” a single dose of heroin measuring to a half a gram, can sell for $5 a piece in New York. In Maine, that price can skyrocket to $20. The Press Herald reports:
Sometimes the mills break down kilos into 10,000, 20,000 or even 40,000 single-dose glassine bags depending on the purity of the heroin. That can transform the value of a single wholesale kilo of heroin from $25,000 at the U.S. border to $150,000 on the streets in New York or more than $400,000 in Maine.
Evidently, the Maine dope market is way more lucrative for dealers in comparison to other spots on the map.