Humboldt’s Heroin Use Makes New York Times

13 ounces of black tar heroin

Black tar heroin. [Photo from a 2017 arrest by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force]

“The dirty needles can be found scattered among the pine and brush, littering the forest floor around Eureka, a town long celebrated as a gateway to the scenic Redwood Empire.” The opening sentence for today’s New York Times article entitled Needle by Needle, a Heroin Crisis Grips California’s Rural North paints a bleak picture. And it gets worse…

“In Humboldt County, the opioid death rate is five times higher than the state average,” states the article. “The problem is exacerbated here in Eureka, the county seat, by a sizable homeless population…”

Perhaps the worse part is that our coroner, Ernie Stewart, says that Meth use is a still worse problem than heroin.

Read the article by clicking this link.



  • Eurtweeka is California’s toilet 🚽

    • That’s bAd because California is the toilet of the u.s.

      • California was a beautiful state once. The East Coasters ruined it. The illegals ruined it. Thank you Teddy Kennedy, girlfriend killer, for the immigration act of 1965. Thank you socialist state legislature for the abomination known as “the sanctuary state.” Thank you libs for destroying a red state, turning it blue like a bruise. Druggies are the bottom of the barrel, not even human anymore, but it was activists like Chavez and brainy demons like Brown who sent this state into the gutter. Some of us native Californians still fight, but it is like the Men of the West against the hordes of Mordor ….

        • local observer

          please explain your theory on trailer parks and its associated problems.

        • . . . . and where the hell is Gandalf anyway, never around when you need him,

          • The Hermit of Grizzly Mountain

            Gandalf is down in the underworld, still hugging the Balrog. He was surprised but also delighted to discover they are soul mates! So now he is Gandalf the red.

        • East coast ruined it? You’ve heard of big pharma right?? What an ignorant comment. Pat yourself on the back for being native, like that means anything lol.

        • A grandmother!

          We’ll put! Johnny reb

      • Lol agreed !

    • I think it’s funny that the needle exchange admitted that 6000+ needles haven’t been returned since 2017. I wonder if they mean since the beginning of 2017 or the end of the he year. Either way, that’s 350 -1200 needles per month that the exchange gives away that don’t get returned. To give the benefit of doubt, maybe half of them get into a trash can… So still that’s 6- 20 needles per day that the exchange gives out that probably make their way to the ground and sidewalks. Thanks needle exchange!

      • Stop making the obvious connection between idiotic social policy and a decline in quality of life

    • Peaple need to help themselves what i can gather if the people doing drugs dont want to help themselves all they want to do is keep geting high so until they want something different in thar lives thar just going to keep going the same old shit

      • Have you ever heard the term “dope sick?”
        From what I understand, you have that at the forefront of your mind until it is satisfied.
        It isn’t getting high.

  • No real economy except for weed which is mostly untaxed, no mental institution, little to no punitive action for criminals , easy access to welfare and benefits make for a large homeless junkie population. Humboldt is a mecca for criminals. The casinos being the epicenter.

  • Money at root

    But the board of supervisors is busying themselves penning cease and desist abatement letters with hefty civil fines attached .

  • This like a dirty house. You already knew it but are only embarassed when some outsider comes and sees it too. Everyone already knows how bad it is in Humboldt Co (Eureka only being where it floats to the surface) where drugs of all kinds are thought of as a normal part of life. Even being embarassed nationally will only be the conversation of a minute. No one gives up their love of illicit drugs because they are embarassed. They just have one more excuse to indulge.

  • Good maybe we can get some fed help now, (not holding my breath)

    • Pharms the problem

      With what bringing more in, the Feds are the ones who started this mess along with big pharm, and healthcare… Big money……

    • “We” don’t want help to rise above addiction. Although lots would like to have their addiction made easier by supporting funds.

  • groba dude osnt trustafarian

    Humboldt is a magnet for psychopathic Mexican dope dealers, more like. Native Americans love their smack too…

    You have got to be crazy to cook and shoot up Black Tar Heroin. This stuff is the worst kind of Opiate, cheap and dirty.

    If you want to die, and hard drug use is ABOUT death, there are better ways to go about it. In a desperate, bleak, and backwards environment like Humboldt County, where drugs are everywhere, it is easy to see why many people are suicidal!

    The social costs of not treating the use of Black Tar Heroin, not incarcerating Mexican Drug Dealers,
    and not treating mental illness in Humboldt, are crippling all efforts to evolve the culture in our county. All school children in Humboldt should be warned weekly about the effects of using drugs, especially heroin.

    If you are a parent, if you grow pot, if you believe that drug use is normal, you need to get more sensible and responsible for the future of your county, town, and state.

    Heroin is about death. Get treatment, get therapy, get away from the druggie environment.

    Peace, and good luck!

    • Where can anyone get away from the drug environment these days? It dominates the local media, the government, the roads, all public spaces. Instead of creating a safe place to work and recreate, all our resources are focused on coping with the containing the mess.

      • groba dude osnt trustafarian

        Wait. Someone is attempting to contain and cope with this?

        I know for a fact that Northern Coastal California is not a place to escape from drugs…

        • Angela Robinson

          Heh, as someone who grew up in Humboldt County, it’s ALWAYS been like this. I remember when I was moving to Kodiak nearly 40 years ago, the guys were telling me that it was a really rough town…got there, looked around a bit and said “Hah, you guys have never been to Eureka.”


            Eureka has shitty people,but you don’t have to be tough to live in 40-65deg weather,thats why there are so many weak junkies able to thrive here. Like how it’s never cold enough here to stop the flea season.
            Is there a Betty Chin in Kodiak?

            • Angela Robinson

              I have no idea, I’ve been up in Oregon for a long time.

              It wasn’t just Eureka, it was Humboldt and Trinity Counties. I know that homelessness is gotten way out of hand on the entire west coast, it isn’t just Humboldt.

              But I’m getting a chuckle out of hair on fire folks acting like crazy bad stuff never happened before. Maybe there was a period, after I left in 1977 where some utopian state was reached that’s just ruined now. No.

              Ernie Christie was an extreme case, but a reason he wasn’t caught (That much) was because the whole dang county was feral.


        By having booze sponsored community events

    • When the agriculture $$ left, the heroin & meth rolled right in… Medical cannabis is not heroin. Now that pot is dead, thanks to corporatism, the real drugs are taking hold. I blame the idiot weed haters.

      • That doesn’t even pretend to make sense. The only reality in the whole post that blaming people who hate pot is your preferred view. There is more pot around than ever. Heroin and meth were rampant before pot growers started feeling heat of competition. Heroin and meth are just a natural progression in the search for a fix to an unsatisfactory life.

  • If I Can Do It So Can You

    Anyone out there suffering from the grips of addiction reach out for help, there are people who have been down the same path and know exactly what you are going through and can help you through it. Today is the day to start a new life. No person is hopeless no matter how long and hard they’ve bed suffering. Step into the light, set yourself free.

  • It’s nice to be nationally recognized for something that many of us were aware of locally! The meth and the heroin problems became monsters while we were ignoring and excusing the impacts of the mega-grows. Now the 100s of millions of dollars a year we saw come through from weed money is drying up and we are left with …junkies and cranksters and mentally ill criminals. Hope you all enjoyed that ride! Thanks again Paul Gallegos!! #staypositivealways and #ignorenegativeinformation

  • I drove down Broadway a couple of times yesterday. There were a couple of grouping of homeless gathered where the illustrious us Blue Heron used to be. Folks squatting there on the sidewalk, their stolen bikes and trailers with there; then a couple people coming out of the bushes at the bottom of the hill there. Then there was a group at the ‘get a free cellphone’ tent at the gas station across from Adele’s. All this on the main road in / out of town at a traffic light that is longer than most. And they were still there in the three hour span. Great impression for those tourists who we want to spend money here. Oh wait…we have a trail along the bay. Just don’t go to the section from Shamus southward. There is a nice little gauntlet of shitheads through there.

  • Crematory business must be on fire, and funeral homes are killin it

  • Let’s give them all free Obama phones and and free meals. Hey, maybe while we’re at it we can create a container village and they can live there free too. Surely that will make the problem go away.

  • And now municipalities around the country know where to bus their junkies.

  • Oh look, people keep objecting every time anyone proposes a solution to the problem, and the problem has gotten worse instead of better. Who would have thunk it?

    EDIT: Ohh, I have another solution! Anyone who is arrested for illegal camping or possession of meth or heroin, and has been convicted of any combination of those crimes two or more times in the past, is given a free non-voluntary one-way bus ride to Sacramento.

    • local observer

      the problem is that you can’t fix broken when its an adult. you have to not let things get broken. if we start now it will take 20 years. if we don’t start now, this problem just compounds itself. the problem is lack of education. most of these addicts and criminals went to Zoe Barnum and most are 45-55 years old, its a fact.

      • A very large portion of them are from out of the area, so I’m not so sure about that argument.

        That said, the entire US education system sucks. But that’s no excuse for making the personal decision to be, and to continue to be, a drain on society.

        • local observer

          you should do some research. our problem like most of the US is 3/4 local. blaming out of the area is a sour scapegoat over used by frustrated locals.

      • If I Can Do It So Can You

        Wha?? You can’t fix broken? That’s bullshi*. These people aren’t ‘broken’. They suffer from a health crisis, mental and physical. People turn their lives around everyday (no matter what age) and escape addiction. Go spew your hatred elsewhere since you haven’t got a clue.

  • I’d just like to add my voice to what seems like constant Humboldt-bashing in the comments section. Just like every community in the world, there are problems. I moved to Humboldt County ten years ago and I love it here. There are so many more things here that make Humboldt County a fantastic place to live than there are negatives. Shining a national spotlight on a big issue may help us move forward with solutions to these issues. There will never be solutions that are 100% effective, so it’s imperative to do the best we can with this very difficult problem. Bashing the locale is nothing more than a sign of your own unhappiness. It happens everywhere and is not limited to just HumCo residents. Fortunately, our community is full of folks who don’t have their blinders on and are willing to put in the work to help our community.

    • Call me optimistic with sunglasses on, but, I think we do have, or are cable of, 100% solutions . . . we’re gonna have to stop communicating with the shinola and recognize it for what it is, what its done, and where it’s taking us earthlings.

      Tesla held solutions over a hundred years ago.

      Drug problem? More like serious greed and apathy issues. Hence, the med syndrome. Many are awakening, after the fiction of False idols fall. Not too soon for the emerging Generic Greenhouse Gas Epidemic. 🙂

  • “Little to no punitive action for” violent criminals is the problem.

    That said, keep the dishy articles about Humboldt coming New York Times,
    to deter prospective incomers so those who are here can better enjoy this beautiful place for themselves.

  • We are just a snapshot of the national picture. I agree.
    But, I think, the article is not ‘about’ Humboldt, it is using Humboldt as an example of a problem everywhere and particularly how it manifests in more rural areas.
    Homelessness, mental health, addiction, education/job skills, domestic abuse, disability, child care… In my opinion, one way or the other these are all intertwined and without being able to approach it wholistically we have little hope of making real progress.
    Excellent, thoughtful article.

  • Robo posters suk

    Agreed K!!!!!

    I think all of you haters need to get out of humboldt for a bit and see what’s going on all over our country and the world for that matter!! Get a clue!
    You all must have been stoked to see Paul ryan fire a chaplain who speaks of helping the poor. Im not christian but if Jesus is coming back I hope its soon so he can whoop all of you, you all are more like the Jewish leaders of his time!!!

    The biggest opiate problem is in Maine, for real. A few docs there realized that only some people coming into hospitals were addicted. The ones who weren’t had one thing in common; they used cannabis at the same time. Its amazing actually, the receptors in our brains for thc/cbd are right next to the opiate ones. Doctors are finding the cannabis seems to help the opiate effectiveness and thus people can take lower doses of opiate which lowers chance of addiction. In Maine the doctors were pushing for legalization. Read this…

    There has always been a heroin priblem here, I got offered some my first week here back in 1994. Maybe you all didnt live here then but its been a major issue. The people I kniw now who have gotten hooked in the last ten years all started with prescription opiates. Some legal some not.
    If you want to see the heroin go away then get to the root problem of doctors who get kickbacks frim pharm industry to over prescribe the pills and other docs who sell the pills. And support those who use pain pills appropriately, having insurance stop paying for those who need it ends up with people seeking it out on the streets. Support our county and others in suing the opiate pharm industry.

    And just to be snarky how many of you haters drink alcohol?? The same exact arguments youre spewing were made during prohibition. When alcohol was illegal but pot and cocaine were legal!! From the news I see, alcohol accounts for millions of deaths, car crashes and families torn apart. What do you think youre paying auto insurance for? People go to rehab all the time for alcohol, &drunk idiots do stupid sh*t.

    We are getting attention because rural areas that have large corporations come in and take all the resources then split tend to then have huge issues with meth and heroin. Look up the book about Iowa, big ag and meth use. Watch the documentary “methland”, the answers to why people get into meth are all in there. One guy said he couldn’t find work and felt useless to society and he used out of that depression. If any of us ended up on the street the depression&boredom and the hate from everyone would push us to drug use. The largest group of “newly” homeless all over our state is made up of folks over 55 with serious health issues. For real.

    Im constantly amazed at the lack of understanding of what’s really happening, I dont know where you all think your tax dollars are supporting free everything for homeless and addicts, its sure not here! It may sound mean but I hope every one of you haters ends up with a family member ill and not able to work and needing help. You’ll change your tune quick! Maybe if we actually helped people get well and back to work they wouldn’t be addicts. This whole thing of the disability and foid stamp program destroying our economy is BS and just another way to turn us against each other rather than the wealthy jackasses who are laughing their ass off watching you be their pawn while they shovel money into off shore accounts and pay no taxes.

    Try living on 180$/person per month for all your food. Thats 6$/day for food. Do that for real then see how you feel, even for a week, on top of working at least 40/week just to get by.
    Food stamps were meant to supplement not be the sole source of food buying.

    Drug use has been and will be romanticized in our media. The key is to provide people with a good enough life that they dont want to escape into the drug world.

  • Mendocino Mamma

    As a healthcare professional a lot of the problems come from the lack of Prevention Services for the Youth. There are not very many public health programs out there that do Outreach in the school’s talking about drug addiction talking about the effects. There should be a lot of billboards around that show somebody before and after drug use. There should be Billboards that say the results of drug use. Death, loss of teeth, loss of family, loss of friends. All things that you get from being an addict. Prevention efforts are few and far between I say this to bring attention to this issue more support of this prevention action needs to occur within our communities. My heart aches for the future if we do not pay attention to prevention. ❤


      Yes,anti-drug billboards around here are a fantasy. With the huge amount of kids born into a house full of trimmers and secrets,the drug culture pushes it’s message stronger.
      Just look at the panic from sohum parents when a cop-dog came onto campus.
      I bet CPS would do more than DEA around here,if anyone cared about their kids.

  • The Coroner is Ernie Stewart? Not what the pretend Sheriff’s page says:

    • Coroner’s office told me back in March that Ernie Stewart was the Chief Deputy Coroner until June, whence the position will be held by someone else, but perhaps the changeover happened early. The sheriff is technically the County Coroner since the offices were consolidated.

      • A Coroner and a Sheriff are two separate positions. Humboldt Countys’ Sheriff position since May 12, 1853 has been an elected position.

        “The County’s” home-rule specifically says that the Sheriff’s position can not be added to.

        A Sheriff and a Coroner ought not Ever be combined positions -for obvious reasons.

        One is lawfully elected, or pretends to be a Sheriff above the law, home-rule or not.

        The other is not elected. He works with the deceased – ahh, of course, one of the obvious reasons! Stealing estates. However, since you’re not sworn into office, how good does that make an Oath?

  • For there but by the Grace of God go I…

  • MustyDreadBush

    Its bad! Just look around! How did thise crackheads sitting on san franciscos street not make it in the ny times?
    I mean just sitting out in the open on the sidewalk smocking crack,.. Wtf

  • People turn to drugs because their lives are shit. Economic failure is the direct cause of these problems – social policy that enables it makes it worse. Eureka and Humboldt need to get serious and stop coddling drug addicts and homeless people. “Helping” is mostly just enabling – please stop. Instead, unambiguously enforce the laws already on the books. Soon, people will leave who don’t contribute and are not from here. Others will stop thinking that camping out and doing heroin all day is a viable option.

    • local observer

      the answer to yesterdays question is 3/4 are local. so where is it these locals will go? and if we don’t help, how much worse do you think it will get? keep in mind that most of the communities in the US is seriously studying this issue as it affecting almost every place.

    • memy selfandi

      All the ignorant indifferent comments here….keep it up; the poor are going to rise up and kick some ass..would have happened sooner if not for drugs.


    I remember in 1996,I was visiting Sacramento,and a guy in a bar was telling me that Eureka was the place to easily have fun with junk and whores.

    • rudolph's mom

      and a bar is the place for……? Legal addictive depressants? If ever there was a gateway drug…..
      Check out “Weed 4”, new from CNN….it’s about how NFL players that got hooked on opiates to cope with their broken bodies have been successfully using cannabis to kick the hard stuff. The host, Dr.Sanjay Gupta, was anti-weed, too. He changed his outlook by being open to something called facts. Just sayin’.

  • Eureka is actually a pretty cool area it just needs to get all cleaned up like they do in other towns what if there was a special state run hospital a massive complex for rehabilitation not a state prison but more like a mental hospital with straight jackets if they need to put someone in one in order to force them to quit taking Meth and heroin each patients would have counselors to help them through rehabilitation doctors giveing them Cannabis so they can come down of there drugs and three good meals a day to get them healthy again and if any patients act up they get put in a straight jacket for a time out and when they finally get through rehabilitation they are released into some sort of job and training then garnish there wages so they are also forced to pay for there own rehabilitation some people might not end up getting better but I think it’s worth a try or else are country could be in big trouble this would have to be a multi billion dollar government program called SET STRAIGHT. In China they solved this problem with a bullet then they sent your family the bill for but that won’t work in the United States so you build massive rehabilitation centers .

  • Apparently New Yorkers have heard about how bad the drug problem is in HumCo.. And apparently they have no idea that Eureka is not surrounded by Pine trees and brush ! Hehehe

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