As heroin addiction sweeps the country, local communities are banning together through forums to work toward a solution to the crisis. In New Jersey, as reported by northjersey.com, students gathered throughout the day at Bergen Community College for a series dubbed ”Caught in the Web: Heroin Addiction.”
It’s here that Gary, age 27, tells his struggles with addiction. It all started off, innocently enough, with a weight-lifting injury and a prescription to Oxycodone. “Pills became too expensive and heroin was a whole lot cheaper,” he says.
Agatha Rodolfa, 17, attended the presentation and said she was surprised to hear how prescription drugs are involved in the heroin epidemic. “Things that are supposed to be safe are not,” she said. “When a doctor says you should take it, you believe them.”
But after listening to Gary’s story, she learned that not everything that’s as it seems. It’s a common misconception, which may have even more to do with the spreading epidemic than many realize.
Michael DeLeon, who started Steered Straight in 2000, served as the event’s keynote speaker. He’s made it his mission to teach anyone who will listen about the danger of drugs, especially heroin. “Parents don’t start young enough in talking to their children about drugs and they don’t do it often enough,” DeLeon said. “By the time they’re doing heroin, you have a problem you might not win,” he said.
Sgt. Hector Carter, of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotic’s squad, said annual drug deaths in Bergen County are on track to exceed last year’s number, the paper reports. Of the 58 deaths thus far, 53 were opiate-related. Narcan, the heroin reversal drug, “has been used 175 times this year,” the paper reports. Thirty-four of those times, however, were not successful. “So far, the drug has been used more than 200 times in Bergen County since it was made available to emergency responders,” the Sgt. reports.
It seems the temporary solution is not a solution at all, but with the advent of speaking engagements like this, through spreading the word, through getting the message out, through education, maybe the need for reversal drugs like Narcan will be eliminated.
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