PORTLAND, Ore. -- A junior high school in Lake Oswego is probably the last place you would expect to find heroin, but police say a dealer was recently busted operating out of the parking lot at Waluga Junior High.
Kaiser's Portland clinic is now seeing about 12 new teenage addicts every week. About 75 percent of them use heroin.
"Before this year, heroin had pretty much gone away from our patient population," said Brad Anderson, who runs the addiction medicine program for Kaiser Permanente.
Most young addicts are hooked on a combination of prescription painkillers like Oxycontin and Heroin. Both are considered opiates, because they're made from opium poppies.
"Heroin is very inexpensive compared to Oxycontin, so if you have opiate dependency and you're out of Oxycontin and you're going into withdrawal, your dealer will give you heroin, which is much cheaper," said Anderson.
"Heroin's availability is much higher right now, so the cost has gone down," said Captain Dale Jorgenson with the Lake Oswego Police Department.
That availability appears to be coming from Mexican drug cartels. Last month Portland Police seized 10 pounds of heroin worth about $1,500,000. Three Mexican nationals were arrested in connection to the seizure.
Police in Lake Oswego have arrested 18 people for possessing or dealing heroin in the past two-and-a-half months.
Some city maintenance workers told us they are now finding empty syringes in some of the Lake Oswego's waterfront parks.
"Even Lake Oswego is not immune from this problem," said Jorgenson.