There was a time when heroin was seen as the drug used by those who had tumbled deep into the drug culture. It would never be found in nice neighborhoods or on the campuses of good schools. Heroin was not the drug that most parents feared would transform their children and destroy their dreams.
All of that has changed. Abundant supply, a low price, and higher potency have led to rapidly increased use in every sector of society. As the supply of prescription pain killers declines, heroin has become the drug of choice at a pace that must be described as an epidemic. Across the country in emergency rooms, treatment centers, and police departments, there is an echoing of concern that heroin has reached the status of a major public enemy.
At St. Joseph Institute we see the impact of heroin on the user, their families and their communities. We have developed a strong hatred. Here are 10 reasons why.
- Heroin, which has become far more potent in the labs of Mexico and other exporting countries, creates a vice-like grip on the user. Its impact on the brain, creating powerful physiological and psychological cravings, makes it a very tough addiction to break.
- Heroin is too cheap. The cost is down 75% over a decade ago, and it becomes an easy substitution from oxycodone and other prescription drugs that have become harder to find and more expensive.
- It causes disease. Almost 80% of the new cases of Hepatitis C are from drug use, and then there is kidney disease, the transmission of AIDS, and infection of the heart lining.
- The impact on finances, careers, relationships and families is understated by the word “devastating.”
- Heroin often pulls people into the darkest levels of the drug culture, where violence, theft, prostitution, and fear, become a way of life.
- The difficult withdrawal from heroin often keeps people trapped in its grip. Cravings, muscle and bone pain, vomiting and other symptoms can make stopping very hard without professional help.
- Heroin can be toxic in so many ways. The purity is never known, and it can be mixed with starch, chalk, cleaning powder, fentanyl and other additives that can be deadly.
- Common methods of treatment – Suboxone and methadone – are addictive in themselves, and often solidify dependency on drugs without leading someone into a drug-free lifestyle.
- Heroin addiction steals joy, purpose, and dreams for the future. It is a selfish substance, demanding the undivided attention of the user.
- Heroin kills too many people. Each year the number of overdoses climbs, and the deaths associated with heroin bring pain and suffering to a larger part of our community.
The list could go on, but the message is clear. Heroin is a terrible and dangerous drug. We have good reason to hate it — and want to see it vanish from the face of the earth.