I know a young couple who live under a bridge. It sounds a bit like a fairy tale, but it not. It’s tragic. They’re both hooked on heroin and she’s pregnant. No matter what anyone does to help, the siren call is too strong. Hard to believe it’s a problem in the affluent community in which we rent.
Jan and I went to a presentation and the policeman said that now drug deaths outnumber gun deaths. He showed us some pictures of OD victims, the drug shuts down the signalling that tells the body to breathe and the lungs fill with a brown mucus fluid that is oozing from the nostrils when the body is found. Pretty horrible sounding isn’t it, but the police say that when they administer the nasal injection to counteract the heroin opiate often the drug user is angry that their high was ruined.
I was surprised by the “corporateness” of the problem. The cartel ships to Chicago, the supply-chain uses gangs to deliver and sell. Often people start on prescription pain killers which are costly and then dealers use the marketing bait and switch. Try this, its less expensive or dealers tell the users it’s a new designer drug. Anything to get the product used and keep the revenue stream moving, and the user hooked.
What can parents do ? Get unused prescription meds out of the house as soon as possible. Be in touch with their kids. If the kid’s behavior changes or their friends change don’t be afraid to drug test. Some of the new tests can detect up to five different drugs and give the results in about seven minutes. If the kid passes, reward them. If they fail, you know what you’re facing. If you find pills in their possession, use an online app to identify them. Information is important.
Testing also gives the kids a face-saving out. When their friends ask them to try something the child can say “No, my parents test.” One of the mothers who spoke said “He told me he just used a little weed.” She came into his room one morning and found him dead.
Early intervention is important. One constant was that despite their sorrow, many families say “At least it’s over”. The relief, the sorrow combine as the siren song ends for everyone that heroin has touched.