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The Opioid Crisis

The number of addicts turning to the deadly drug heroin has increased by more than 50 percent due to opioid addiction

Heroin use (pictured) has increased by 50 per cent in Sydney over the past five years, new figures have found

Heroin is skyrocketing in popularity in Sydney, with use of the dangerous narcotic reportedly up 50 per cent in the past five years, new figures have found.

Drug lines have reportedly taken the brunt of the problem with the influx of drug users seeking help. The issue has a familiar ring to it as it revives memories of the 1990s when narcotics were the scourge of Australia’s biggest city.

Experts have identified a link between addiction to pharmaceutical drugs such as opioids and the increased likelihood that users will succumb to illegal drugs.

Heroin use (pictured) has increased by 50 per cent in Sydney over the past five years, new figures have found

Heroin use (pictured) has increased by 50 per cent in Sydney over the past five years, new figures have found

Van Cao Tran, 45, was arrested for allegedly importing 16kg of heroin into Sydney in May from Thailand (pictured)

Van Cao Tran, 45, was arrested for allegedly importing 16kg of heroin into Sydney in May from Thailand (pictured)

“People get addicted to pharmaceutical opioids and then (authorities) crack down on what they can use. Where do they go for further treatment? …illegal market,” Harm Reduction Australia president Gino Vumbaca said.

“If you’re addicted to prescription opioids, you don’t want ice,” Mr. Vumbaca continued.

While ice has dominated the nation’s hard drug market in recent years, that trend seems likely to change as opioid addicts turn to heroin.

Police are targeting and monitoring the supply of heroin, with Drug and Firearms Squad Commander Peter McErlain warning that opioids are “highly addictive”.

In May, Van Cao Tran (45) was arrested for allegedly importing 16kg of heroin into Sydney from Thailand. Drugs worth $8 million have been seized from a Cabramatta flat hidden in children’s clothing.

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Mr. Tran faces up to life in prison if convicted of the commercial importation charge.

16kg of heroin worth $8 million was allegedly hidden in children's clothing at a Cabramatta apartment in Sydney's south-west (pictured by Van Cao Tran)

16kg of heroin worth $8 million was allegedly hidden in children’s clothing at a Cabramatta apartment in Sydney’s south-west (pictured by Van Cao Tran)

Experts believe that many opioid addicts are jumping ship into the illegal drug market, with heroin being the primary choice as an opioid substitute.

Experts believe that many opioid addicts are jumping ship into the illegal drug market, with heroin being the primary choice as an opioid substitute.

During the 1990s death wave, Cabramatta was at the center of the problem. The 5T street gang controlled the local area using standover tactics to control local businesses and keep their trade.

In the two decades that followed, Sydney saw a huge improvement in the problem. There were almost 3,000 heroin incidents in one year, up from about 1,000 in 2001.

However, as reported by The Daily Telegraph, the numbers are rising again, with 1,097 people caught last year.

Family Drug Support Australia chief executive Tony Trimingham admitted heroin-related calls were on the rise. Mr Trimingham said: “Heroin has doubled, from around 4 per cent of calls to 9 or 10 per cent.”

The resurgence of heroin use in Sydney has many worried that the city is facing a resurgence of the deadly scourge of the 1990s

The resurgence of heroin use in Sydney has many worried that the city is facing a resurgence of the deadly scourge of the 1990s

Van Cao Tran (pictured) was arrested after 16kg of heroin he allegedly imported was seized in Cabramatta.  Mr Tran faces charges of commercial importation and is likely to spend life in prison if convicted

Van Cao Tran (pictured) was arrested after 16kg of heroin he allegedly imported was seized in Cabramatta. Mr Tran faces charges of commercial importation and is likely to spend life in prison if convicted

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