This one word is seemingly irrelevant for many families when taken at face value. “Not my child,” says the working mother or the proud father reflecting on their child. Yet, it can shake an entire nation and change the lives of so many homes. Heroin addiction in Texas and across the United States continues to skyrocket. Now, take that pain, that loss, that fear caused by overdose, imagine it affects 52 different individuals, and put it all in a 32-hour time window. From 12:01am Thursday to 8:00am Friday, first responders in Louisville, Kentucky took 52 calls reporting overdoses. One was fatal.
The stigma has begun to fade based on necessity. Heroin overdoses aren’t talked about in the same hushed tones that they used to, but at the same time they aren’t looked at with the compassion and seriousness that the deadly disease of addiction demands. Words like “again” and “another” seem to appear more and more often in the headlines detailing these painful events. An almost apathetic view has been taken up by much of the media when reporting overdoses. “Nothing new.” “Not surprising.”
Perhaps what’s even more tragic is the media may not be wrong in these descriptions. Louisville had 25 calls to report overdose over the same period the week before and the entire Jefferson County, which Louisville is a part of, had been averaging 22 overdoses a day this year according to the Huffington Post. CNN reports that in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, at least 14 people died of opioid overdose over one weekend this month. In just the first month and a half of 2017, more than 60% of the autopsies conducted in Montgomery County, Ohio, which includes Dayton, involved drug overdose deaths.
Luckily, Kentucky’s expanded access to the opioid overdose medication naloxone seems to have helped save hundreds of lives. The Huffington Post reports that in Lexington, Kentucky, “First responders had dispensed 1,550 doses of naloxone, which counters the effects of opioid overdoses, in 2016.”
Even though there have been dramatic rises in heroin use and overdoses, legislators still seem obsessed with fighting the war on drugs rather than trying to treat the problem. Accepting the importance of naloxone and its ability to save lives is a great step forward, but the views of seeing these suffering people as less than or a burden to the state can only cause more damage. The war on drugs costs tax payers billions of dollars and doesn’t seem to be making any progress. When will we realize that fighting the dealers and treating the problem are not the same thing?
We here at Infinite Recovery specialize in opioid addiction treatment and are dedicated to helping the addict overcome the terror that is addiction. With specialized groups, masters level clinicians, and a variety of healthy activities such as dance and yoga for our clients to participate in, we treat the problem at its root and stop the cycle of addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid addiction, we can help. We offer a confidential hotline at (844) 206-9063 and our admissions team is available 24/7 online.