This isn't cheese. It's heroin. And it's been creeping into the U.S. since 2005.
"You take the brown heroin or the black heroin, grind it with these sleep agents it turns brown or tan and if you hold Parmesan cheese that you put on your spaghetti and the cheese heroin, they look a lot alike," said David Zon, the Resident Agent in Charge from the DEA.
“Cheese heroin” is being targeted to younger users. Sold at $2 a hit, it's much cheaper than traditional heroin which can cost you up to $30. “Cheese” or “Queso” is sold by teens to teens in individual baggies or bindles. It can be snorted or swallowed. The high is less potent than heroin, but it's just as deadly.
"Basically, it slows everything down, it gives you a euphoria stage, it makes you very slow, very lethargic," said Zon.
It can also go unnoticed. Since it looks a lot like Parmesan cheese, many parents aren't getting wind of the dangers.
"Parents need to be aware that it's out there, take note of what their child has. Right now with this cheese heroin, it looks like parmesan cheese. If they see a substance like that in there kid's school bags or articles or if they hear the word cheese or queso," said Zon.
Or see it in text messages. For example, the word, “cheese” can be communicated in different ways on your child's cell phone. Such as: Cheese, Chees, Cheez, Chez, Chz, Queso, Keso, or Kso.
"A lot of times children do start off with things that are easy to get a hold and then as they want a more sustained high or more intense high sometimes move on to other things," said Martin Siegrist, the Assistant Medical Director at Huther-Doyle, a Drug Prevention Service.
Drug counselors and drug enforcement agents are keeping a close eye on “cheese.”
They're tracking the drug in other states to make sure it doesn't make its way here.
"Is it coming? Probably so, like anything else, when people get bored, they'll turn to it," said Zon.
Since 2005, 21 deaths have been caused by cheese heroin overdose. Drug enforcement agents say they're turning to the internet to crack down on drug users. Many are turning to the web because you don't need a prescription to buy drugs online.