Heroin Addiction

As we all probably know there is an epidemic of heroin abuse and other illegal drugs. You open up the newspaper and see the police calls, or felony sentences, etc. and you will see how it has been a big problem in our community. Another overdose has come across the scanner an is posted on Facebook. Several come in one by one in a row at times. I see this on Facebook all the time. I hate even looking at the comments because I know there is going to be that one person who is uneducated on how addiction works saying “we should just kill them all.” It always happens, someone, whomever it may be, always says something as rude as that remark. I see and understand the frustration people have with this issue. To see it rip a nice beautiful community is disappointing.  I just wish people would see and understand it from a parents view who has a child struggling with drug addiction, or the siblings who have to watch their brother/sister go through this, or the spouse who has to see their partner struggle through with it. If a parents child was overdosing as a harsh person just typed that rude comment on the post, the last thing the parent would want to hear or see later after their child’s life was just lost or saved from the overdose is that. The family of that addict could be on that post and see that. You know how awful that would be? Absolutely TERRIBLE. Now I am going to lay out some facts and statistics for a minute, so bare with me and continue reading because my opinions are continued below and are good! So don’t quit reading until the end!

According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2013 there were approximately 21.6 million people aged 12 or older were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year. Heroin abuse is much more pervasive in the US than many people realize. A recent report from the Office of National Drug Control Policy estimates that there are around 1.5 million chronic users of heroin in the US – and that number does not include users who are not classified as chronic (people who use heroin fewer than four days per month). Not only is the use an issue, so is the deaths it is causing. Heroin-related deaths jumped 39 percent from 2012 to 2013, and the longer-term trends are equally disturbing: from 2002 to 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As for Ohio, since 2007, unintentional drug overdose is the leading cause of injury related death in 2014, ahead of motor vehicle traffic crashes. Not only that Ohio had the second-highest number of drug overdose deaths nationwide in 2014. Can you believe that? Its very shocking when the numbers and examples are right in front of you. This is an EPIDEMIC. IN OUR STATE. IN OUR COMMUNITY. According to the Ohio Department of Health unintentional drug overdoses caused 2,482 Ohioans in 2014. This is the highest number on record from drug overdose and reflects a 17.6% increase compared to 2013 when there were 2,110 drug overdose deaths. Reason being? You’re probably thinking more people using, more people passing away, right? Yes, but not the only reason. There are different reasons why the number has risen. One of them being heroin laced with Fentanyl, an opiate painkiller much stronger then heroin or morphine. It is actually 50 to 100 times more stronger than morphine. Its obviously very deadly. Now I am not saying that every person who overdosed had laced heroin. Some people do go to rehab or get the help they need, but after six months of being clean they relapse. When they relapse they believe their tolerance is the same as before, when in fact it is not. They will take as much as they did before and overdose.

This isn’t just a Mansfield problem, a ghetto problem, a poor problem, an Ohio problem, a white problem, its a problem that DOES NOT discriminate. A lot of people move to Lexington, Bellville, or Butler thinking they will be away from it. False, there has been numerous break ins from Butler, Bellville, and Lexington. Bellville as you know a couple or so weeks ago just had an abundant amount of break ins all in ONE week. Butler had a person who overdosed and passed away RIGHT in town this past summer/fall. You wouldn’t believe how many people are around you at work, the store, the mall, a restaurant who looks completely “normal” and doesn’t look like an addict, but in fact they are. It’s regular everyday people that you would NEVER suspect. It’s rich people, and poor people. I hate how people get this picture in their mind that an addict is dirty, homeless looking, face sunken in, can tell they are on something, clothes all raggedy or thug looking, etc. Yes, some addicts may look like this, but not ALL addicts do. They could be that corporate manager in a business suit talking to you, or the clothing store associate who looks clean and professional. Like I said it doesn’t discriminate.

Now I made this post because I am just overly frustrated as much as the people who are overly frustrated at the addicts. Addiction IS a disease. You can sit and say they made this choice, not my problem or well it is there own fault for even doing it. You are right it is a choice they made, a bad one at that, but a person who has type 2 diabetes, is it there choice too? People with type 2 diabetes CAN prevent it, but instead some eat bad foods and don’t exercise which could cause it. It is a disease that is preventable, just like addiction. Except, we have NO problem giving people who have diabetes necessary and full treatment along with medicine. We have no issues helping them, so why is there such an issue with people realizing addiction is similar and is a disease? Why can’t people realize they need necessary and full treatment with possible medication too?

People make mistakes, it is humane nature. Just because someones mistakes have longer more harsh consequences doesn’t make YOU any better. When you are a teenager you feel invincible, you feel like you are on top of the world and nothing can stop you. You go to a party, drink, smoke weed, and some one offers you a percocet. You don’t want to say no because you don’t want to look like a wimp, or be peer pressured, so you take it and snort it (people are 40 more times likely to be addicted to heroin if they are addicted to prescription pain killers). You love the feeling and think you can start doing it every weekend at every party with no problems. Then out of no where you get up for school one day and feel like complete crap. Your legs are achy, you have restless leg syndrome, your whole body is not only aching, but you also have goosebumps yet burning up, but then again freezing again. You’re stomach is in pain and you have to rush to the bathroom because you feel like your going to puke and have diarrhea at the same time. You can’t quit yawning even though you just woke up, and water is pouring our of your eyes, even though you are not crying. What is going on here? Some people call it the “Super Flu” others call it withdrawal symptoms that are unbearable. At this point your addicted and start using daily just to not feel like that, just so you can get up and go to school or work. Sooner or later you will realize that you not only can’t keep up with your tolerance, but you can’t keep up with the prices (25-40 for one pill is pretty expensive). Before you know it you’re turning to heroin, where its way cheaper and a stronger high, so why not? You start off by snorting it, but sooner or later someones going to introduce you to shooting it up because of how much better it makes you feel. Not only do you start doing this just to feel normal, you do so, so you don’t have to deal with your life. The euphoric feeling takes you out of your mind and stops all of the worry’s going on in your life. There you see how fast a party with pills can lead to a lifetime of hell. Now that’s not even mentioning the people who are not at fault of being addicted. There doctor gets them on pain medicine, takes them off and then unfortunately they experience withdrawals. They go on the street to get rid of the “Super Flu” or withdrawals and go down hill from there also. Yes, it is a choice, but like I said we were all teenagers once, we all know what it was like. Maybe you didn’t have a long lasting hellish mistake like addicts do, but doesn’t mean you don’t have a mistake that you wish you could go back and change or do over.

Yes, addicts do do some pretty crappy stuff to not only other people, but their own family members. I am not excusing there behavior what so ever (they deserve the punishment for whatever crime they did), but I just wish people understood what happens and WHY they do it. By the time they are addicted they HAVE to have it, not want too. Once they’re addicted they’re a completely different person. That precious little baby girl that was very athletic and great in school, could become addicted and starting stealing from her own parents. That is not truly her, it is the drugs speaking to her. Please if you call addicts a piece of shit junkie who deserves to die, please look into addiction. Please educate yourself. It is not just “in the head” type thing. Its a disease that people need to become educated and informed about, so it finally starts to be recognized on what it truly is… a DISEASE.
I am going to continue this topic on another night and I will go into treatment, medicines, what addicts are doing to get help and what we need to do in not only Mansfield, but communities around it to finally get our community back. Its not just a one person job, the communities have to come together. Hope you guys read all the way through (even though it was SUPER long, I apologize) and hope you continue to read the rest. Please share and get this out, so people finally gets educated on addiction.
Gabrielle Carr



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