10 Things I Learned Today About The Heroin Epidemic In My County

Most of this information came from a town hall meeting I attended, but some things I learned from another source.

  1. Last year, 16 people died of a heroin overdose in my county of 40,000. At least nine – and maybe as many as 12 — have died of a heroin overdose this year.
  2. Narcan, since it is subsized by federal and/or state funds costs about $3 a shot locally. Narcan is used to revive a overdose victim.
  3. During the town hall meeting, an officer told the story of an individual in the county who overdosed twice in one day.  The person’s life was saved for $6 unless they received multiple injections — then their life was spared for less than $50.
  4. Not all the officers in my community carry Narcan.
  5. Our Common Pleas Court is beginning to mandate Vivitrol injections as a condition of probation. Vivitrol is taken every 28 days and blocks a person’s ability to get high on heroin.
  6. Several recovering heroin addicts mentioned, in passing, that their introduction to illicit drugs was marijuana.
  7. Multiple recovering addicts credited Jesus with curing their addiction.
  8. A local student held a fundraiser then donated the $1,500 or so generated to help teach prevention methods. The student, and others in her group, have family members dealing with addiction.
  9. Building connections with family and tbe community can help break the addiction cycle.
  10. One recovering addict’s message bears repeating (and repeating): We are good people, we just made bad choices.

I debated on whether to go to the meeting, (It was cold and windy. I was tired and grouchy) but I’m glad I did.  Seeing the crowd, and community leaders, gave me hope that this can be solved.

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4 thoughts on “10 Things I Learned Today About The Heroin Epidemic In My County

  1. I understand OD’s from heroin right here in my town is becoming an epidemic. Bad stuff!

    • Yes it is. I read somewhere that 25 percent of those who try heroin are addicted with the first instance — which is especially scary since high school kids experiment with a lot of stuff.

  2. Russell Claywell

    I am a nurse & for about the last year half our pts are drug & alcohol related. From what I have seen around my years as a teen & an adult as well as a nurse, people are more educated about the down side more than at any time in history. In my opinion it starts with bad parenting most of the time. Parents let their kids down so they will look elsewhere for a family & that ends up being with other drug users. They don’t think of their consequences & want to belong. It is no ones fault except for the individual using. There is no excuse for the epidemic. Bad choices are not an excuse. people know right from wrong. even if they have bad parents. I’m not saying they all have bad parents but probably 75 – 80 percent of my patients and friends & family do.

    • I agree with you that people are very aware of the dangers and there are plenty of bad parents. One of the recovering addicts that spoke that night said, at the age of 13, he did heroin with his father. The odds were stacked against that kid. I made some poor choices at 13, but mine did not have the same level of consequence. Then there is the whole science of brain maturation… the frontal lobe which controls/curbs our impulsive decision making process isn’t developed until our early 20s…so kids make ‘dumb’ choices. The more I read — and expose myself to addicts — the more I believe there are myriad of reasons the epidemic is here. I’ve watched kids ‘raise themselves’ and the outcome is predictable, but I’ve also seen kids from ‘good homes’ become addicts…One of the most troubling aspects of the epidemic for me is the wide availability of all drugs in small, rural counties like mine… drugs appear where there’s a market and as a community we have to reduce market demand….

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