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Read this: Equal opportunity edition

19-year-old Alicia Lannes, right, died of a heroin overdose in March 2008. Her boyfriend, Skylar Schnippel (left) provided her with heroin on the night she died; he is now serving a 20-year jail sentence. (Family photo)

Good afternoon, everyone. If you haven't already, spend some time with the first installment of Caitlin Gibson's story about a teen heroin ring in Centreville, Va.

The ring was eventually broken up, as Gibson reports, but not before four teenagers died of overdoses. One of them, Alicia Lannes, seemed the polar opposite of a heroin addict -- "funny, kind, smart. Sweet, silly. . . . fiercely determined, earning a place on Westfield's varsity cheerleading squad and later the golf team. And she was a perfectionist: She graduated with a high GPA and 19 college credits from AP classes."

Unfortunately, an expert tells Gibson, this shouldn't be a shock:

Centreville parents were plagued: Why would their kids -- children of supportive parents -- get involved with heroin?
The answer is simple, according to Edythe London, a neuroscientist and pharmacologist at UCLA who is at the forefront of addiction study: "Heroin is an equal-opportunity substance."
The factors that make a person susceptible to drugs cross ethnic and economic lines in ways many people don't fully realize, London says. "It's something that the nice folks with the successful kids in nice schools are not paying attention to."

Elsewhere in today's Style section: Chris Richards reviews Carrie Underwood's latest album. Nick Gillespie reviews two new books about Sarah Palin. And Hank Stuever manages to review both "By the People" and "V" at the same time.

Tips? Sightings? E-mail us: And follow us on Twitter: @ReliableSource.

By The Reliable Source  |  November 3, 2009; 12:02 PM ET
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Um... it's Centreville, VA (not MD). A little fact checking - or proofreading - goes a long way toward establishing one's credibility.

Posted by: nan_lynn | November 3, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

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