By now, most people know about the crisis. Heroin is resurgent and more popular than ever before. In every community, it is shattering lives and sowing grief. Experts call it the opiate epidemic. Do you have someone in your life addicted to heroin?
America blinked and the unthinkable happened. Heroin became demystified, even okay to millions of young people. It is no longer the big city street junkie drug. How did we get to this point and what can anyone do about it?
For so many people, the addiction started with less powerful substances. “Partying” with alcohol and marijuana. Prescription narcotics became easy to obtain. Drugs like Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Morphine created a fast and smooth high, especially when the pills were crushed and snorted or smoked. The fact that doctors prescribed these substances made them a little more acceptable. A seal of approval of sorts.
Moving from narcotic pills to heroin was not as big a jump as non-addicts might think. Heroin is a cheaper, faster and stronger version of the same high. Once someone becomes addicted to opiates, being away from them is torture. If heroin can be obtained, so much the better to keep the pain away.
You might be surprised to find out who is using heroin these days. It might be your neighbor or your financial adviser. It might even be your pharmacist. It is truly an epidemic now.
For teenagers, rebellion used to consist of secretly smoking some marijuana. It was cool, illegal and mysterious to sober people. Today, marijuana is legal in many places and, increasingly, accepted by society. Smoking pot does not have the same counter-culture cool effect. Has legalizing marijuana helped make heroin the current choice for rebellious youth? And has moving marijuana a notch towards acceptance made other drugs seem a bit less dangerous and terrible?
When an impressionable person sees a friend using heroin and raving about how great it is, the resistance and fear of the drug gets whittled down. What one person can do, another can do.
Opiates are highly addictive. Once addicted to heroin, a person’s life becomes a deep and dark trap, a mine tunnel.
There is hope for addicts. All that is needed to make a beginning is willingness to change and a pinch of inner honesty. Many people have recovered and are living happy, productive lives without heroin. Some of these people have written about their journey. A lot of addicts with good recovery are willing to lend a hand to those who are still suffering. Hospitalization is often needed at the beginning of any recovery, because addicts become dope-sick without the drug. Please remember always that there are many people who care.
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