“Mom and dad’s dead, mom and dad’s dead!” screamed a terrified 5-year-old boy as he went running two blocks barefoot in the dark on May 18 to his step-grandfather’s home, after finding his parents unconscious at their home in Middletown, Ohio. Kenny Currey, the boy’s step-grandfather, ran back to the house and to his horror, he found his stepdaughter Chelsie Marshall and her partner Lee Johnson lying unconscious after overdosing on heroin.
“When I walked up the steps and seen him lying on the bathroom floor and her in the hallway, I immediately called 911 because I knew what was up,” said Currey. When the Middletown police arrived at the scene, they found the boy’s 3-month-old sister sitting in a car seat and crying. Johnson recovered as soon as he was administered a dose of Narcan. He was later handcuffed and taken to the police cruiser. However, even several doses of Narcan couldn’t reverse the effects of heroin on Marshall, and she had to be taken to a hospital where she was eventually revived.
“The little boy is a hero,” said Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw, giving a badge to the boy for his bravery at such a tender age. Marshall and Johnson, who face two charges of putting their children’s lives in danger and one count of disorderly conduct with heroin, will be held in the Middletown City Jail. “Parents, wake up. You are just not hurting yourselves, you’re hurting your families and your kids. I mean this could’ve turned out really bad for two children that don’t deserve it,” said the police chief.
Heroin claims more Americans than guns, cars or even terror attacks
If America was plagued by the AIDS crisis in the 1990s, it probably now has a larger, ferocious monster lurking perilously over its ostentatious megalopolises as well as its shanty suburbs and dingy alleyways. Obviously, the monster called heroin didn’t grow overnight. It took years to spread its tentacles across the American landscape. Today, it has grown into a full-blown epidemic, wreaking havoc among communities regardless of age, race, wealth or location.
Regrettably, heroin now kills more Americans than cars, guns or even terror attacks do. Mexican drug cartels smuggle enormous amounts of heroin into the United States, through the 2,000 miles of international border in the south stretching from San Diego in California to Brownsville in Texas. Once the drug consignments enter the U.S. territory, traffickers use street and outlaw motorcycle gangs to market their cheap and increasingly powerful heroin throughout the country like a legitimate business firm. This has been their modus operandi for decades and there seems to be no end.
The demand for drugs in the lucrative American markets has created a massive and complicated cross-border drug trafficking network, which compels traffickers to resort to innovative ways to push their wares into U.S. territory. Experts attribute the spike in overdose cases to the national and state-level crackdown on pill manufacturing mills, which has made it even tougher to procure prescription opioids such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Fentanyl and other off-the-counter painkillers without producing a valid medical prescription. Therefore, drug dealers have taken advantage of the identical chemical structure and euphoria-inducing properties of heroin to smuggle the drug into different cities. In terms of price, prescription opioids could cost anywhere around $1/milligram to uninsured users, i.e., $60 for a single 60-milligram pill. However, an equivalent amount of heroin costs much less and is easily procurable at about $10 per bag without having to produce any medical prescription.
Why are more and more Americans driven to heroin use?
Primarily, those addicted to prescription drugs end up switching to heroin because it is cheaper and often easier to access. Besides, both — heroin and opioids — have strikingly similar chemical structures and have a tendency to bind to the same family of receptors in the brain, temporarily hindering the brain’s response to painful stimuli. Apart from heroin being an easy-to-procure substance, there are other reasons that drive young people to use/abuse the drug:
- Peer pressure: Teens and young adults see many people using various substances and may give in to the urge of experimenting with any one of them, and any easy-to-procure drug becomes the drug of choice.
- Influence of popular media: Studies show that majority of teens feel that movies and TV shows make drugs seem like an OK thing to do. Moreover, following the footsteps of their favorite movie star or singer was big deal.
- Means of self-medication: The youth are often loaded with problems, and in the absence of a healthy outlet or a trusted confidant to vent their frustrations, drugs such as heroin become an escape route.
- Spontaneous gratification: Drugs such as heroin work almost immediately to cause initial pleasurable sensations and many see them as a shortcut to happiness.
- Lack of information: One of the most common causes of both prescription drug as well as heroin abuse is lack of information about the dangers of drug use. Most people rely on friends who claim to be experts on different recreational substances.
- Assurance of naloxone in case of an emergency: It’s a known fact that naloxone disables the opiate receptors in the body, blocking the effects of heroin. Users may view it as a license to abuse the drug, disregarding the importance of seeking professional help to battle addiction.
Sovereign Health can help
Heroin use is simply not limited to the shanty low-income neighborhoods, rather, it is prevalent everywhere including the suburbs and the affluent areas causing a surge in overdose cases in the recent years across the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heroin overdose death rates increased by 20.6 percent from 2014 to 2015 and nearly 13,000 people lost their lives in 2015 alone. Heroin exerts an immensely powerful effect on the pleasure circuitry of the brain, causing the brain to want more and more of the drug. Moreover, once addicted to heroin, the effects of withdrawal can be severe demanding individualized heroin withdrawal treatment.
Sovereign Health is a leading provider of behavioral health treatment services in the U.S. Our customized heroin addiction treatment programs at Sovereign Health of San Clemente are tailored to individual needs in order to treat the person holistically.
If you or your loved one is battling addiction to heroin or any other drug, get in touch with Sovereign Health to gain access to the latest and innovative treatment methods at our state-of-the-art drug rehabilitation centers spread across the U.S. You may call at our 24/7 helpline or chat online to know about the most effective treatment options at our reliable heroin addiction rehab centers.