Even while the nationwide heroin epidemic causes great concern among individuals, families and communities, there are those who honestly believe that these problems do not and will not affect them. But with Chicago area police stating that heroin has been a growing problem for at least the past decade and a half, the truth is that many families are affected by this drug substance, whether they know it or not. If ever a family member is very addicted and you don’t know where to turn, turning to the Drug Rehab Referral Service can be a great opportunity for their successful recovery.
The Silent Epidemic
For many individuals, the road to heroin abuse begins with the legal use of prescription painkillers, which are also opioid drug substances. Heroin is plentiful, cheap and potent, and it is often turned to when an individual is no longer able to acquire prescription painkillers in sufficient quantity to satisfy their cravings. And while it may seem quite to the contrary, the truth is that many heroin addicts are well aware of the problems being caused by this drug substance and wish desperately that they were free of it. Unfortunately, they are so thoroughly trapped in their addiction that they simply don’t know how to get out, and both they and their family members suffer.
Whether family members understand that heroin abuse or addiction is to blame, they would have a tough time arguing against the fact that this drug substance impacts their lives. Their loved one can become quite a different person, obsessed with the single purpose of obtaining and using more heroin at any cost. Once family members understand what is occurring, their lives become haunted by the fear that sooner or later they will lose their loved one to heroin. It is like being in mourning for someone who is still alive, remembering who they once were and considering who they have now become. Every door knock and every phone call reminds them that they may soon receive the news they dread above all else. Their loved one may even disappear for days or weeks at a time–forcing family members to consider that they may have finally lost their life to heroin. Even when family members have access to the opiate overdose antidote drug naloxone, they may struggle with the constant worry that they may not be around, or act quickly enough, to use it and save their loved one’s life. To say that the lives of a heroin addict’s family members are full of stress, anxiety, fear and dread is a horrible understatement.
It is not always obvious when an individual is abusing or addicted to heroin. In fact, it can take an average of twenty months to discover that a loved one is using this powerfully addictive drug substance. Not only is heroin odorless (unlike alcohol and marijuana), but heroin users and even addicts can be convincing liars. Unfortunately, a lack of awareness of the problem or a lack of willingness to admit that there is a problem and something must be done about it can lead to tragedy when a loved one loses his life to heroin.
Addressing the Problem
Kane County Coroner Rob Russell reported that twenty-two county residents lost their lives to heroin overdoses last year. The lives of six county residents have been saved by naloxone this year, but many more remain in danger. Kane County police officers have been trained in the use of naloxone, however this is still an attempt to resolve a serious problem by first waiting for it to occur before taking action. Kane County Sheriff Don Kramer feels that the real answer is education. Individuals who understand about the drug culture and drug use in their community are generally well-enough informed that they can help their loved ones understand the dangers of drug use and abstain.