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Chicago’s Heroin Highway Is a Real Problem

How a Major Chicago Interstate Allows Drug Trade to Prosper

Have you ever wondered how drugs appear in new and unexpected places everyday? One answer: easy access and transportation.

One new place the drug heroin has become extremely prevalent is the suburbs of Chicago. Many families have turned to reliable rehab centers in order to help their struggling family members. You might want to consider a drug rehab center in Denver. Being away from home will improve your loved ones chances of staying clean. Middle class teenagers are a new target to what is one of the most dangerous and physically destroying drugs. The euphoria of the drug is credited for the start of massive addictions not only in the city, but now the suburbs and rural areas. This drug does not discriminate against anyone. Low income or upper class, African American or white, this drug has affected communities all over the country. Chicago is not the only city with an Interstate named the “Heroin Highway”. New York City, Los Angeles and many others have used this terms to describe the roads that literally aid in the heroin drug dealing process.

Transportation of the Drug


  • Interstates Involved: I-290 (Eisenhower Expressway) and I-88 (Ronald Reagan Memorial)
  • Cities Affected: Chicago, Naperville, Wheaton, Plainfield, Downers Grove, Joliet, Deerfield, North Chicago, Aurora, Elgin, and Waukegan to name just a handful.
  • Age Group Using: 16-21 years old

Interstate 290, as known as the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago, has enabled many teens in the Chicagoland area to purchase and transport heroin. The Eisenhower Expressway is a straight shot out of the Chicago ghetto to the affluent suburbs of Chicago. It connects Chicago’s notorious west side to prominent suburbs like Naperville, Wheaton, and Downers Grove. One drug deal could take as little as one hour of both the buyer and drug dealer’s time. The drug’s actual start is in Mexico, where it is moved by cartels to cities right outside the United States border. From here it is dispersed to many cities in the US, including Chicago. Since kids in the suburbs of Chicago have access to parents money and cars, they can easily pretend to need the car for “hanging out”, when they are really about to buy some drugs.


How Can the Heroin Highway Stop Transporting These Drugs?

The truth is that heroin and new drugs like krokodil will make its way down the “Heroin Highway” for years to come if the problem is not acknowledged and prevented. Teens will continue to risk their lives and drive down to neighborhoods of Chicago, such as Austin or North Lawndale for their fix as long as the drug is being supplied to gang members.

In 2011, over 30 deaths were reported in Will County from heroin overdoses. This does not include the many suburbs in DuPage county that account for another large population of heroin users. The heroin overdose death rate has increased by over 100% over the years and community and county officials are concerned it may become an epidemic in the suburbs. There have been many public forums held in suburbs like Naperville, Joliet, and Elgin concerning the obvious heroin abuse issues in the Chicagoland area. Police and drug abuse counselors believe the best way to combat this problem is education about the drug and why it is detrimental to anyone who starts taking it.

TV Show Segment on the Heroin Highway


View of Chicago heading down Interstate 290

An Operation By Police in New York City

Please leave your thoughts and comments on America’s Heroin Highway below. What do you think is the best way to combat this heroin problem? Can we somehow make the access of the drug not as easy? Please Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more.


In addition to exploring topics related to civil engineering, I enjoy making house beats.

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