It’s hard to believe and somewhat discouraging that heroin use in the United States has grown to alarming levels.
While once limited to a small, mostly underground group of musicians, minorities and criminals, heroin has recently crept into segments of the population that previously used only alcohol, recreational drugs or simply nothing at all that made them high.
What groups am I talking about? Let’s start with women. With more and more women working outside the home, their access and exposure to narcotics like heroin has increased.
Next we can look at higher-income people of both sexes. They have the means to pay for an expense pastime like heroin use, and more people from that demographic are doing exactly that. I can think of better things to spend money on.
Health insurance coverage
Then there are those covered by health insurance. It’s hard to blame this one on Obamacare. These insured heroin users are part of the higher-income crowd mentioned above. It’s also a reflection of the search for bigger and bigger thrills by people who have a void in their lives to fill.
I’m not suggesting religion is the answer. It’s one possibility that can fill the emptiness. There are many others such as work, family, the arts, sports, music, etc. — anything that doesn’t cause a physical addiction and threaten your life.
What else is different about the current crop of heroin freaks? Many of them come from the sordid world of painkiller abuse. Opioids are evil little things in pill form that do a considerable amount of damage to abusers and lead to other problems.
Drawing the line
Pain pill overdoses can be deadly, and so can using too much heroin. Once a person starts with these substances, it becomes difficult to know where to draw the line.
Deaths from heroin overdose have been climbing. More than 8,000 died from that cause in 2013, a number double that of just a few years previous.
The answer? Definitely stepped-up law enforcement is urgently needed. Large amounts of cheaper heroin are available in the United States and that is certainly part of the problem. That spigot needs to be closed.
Then there is the bigger problem of filling the hole in the souls of hard-drug users. Let’s start with education and reexamine the prevention message that young people are hearing in school. It needs to be improved.