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Exposing Heroin

Perhaps like no other illegal substance, heroin depends on being hidden to spread addiction. No one does, “just a little bit.” When heroin is found, there’s an real push to get the addict help and to maintain what amounts to a $30 to $50 dollar a day habit, addicts must remain concealed, or commit to a lifestyle of living with other addicts. According to a story in the Herald Argus, the secret nature of heroin can be a target for better policing and interdiction, if only the community at large becomes aware of the problem.

The recent deaths of some young people, lost to heroin, has provided a jumping off point for community awareness and Chris Day of La Porte took advantage of the opportunity. Following the death of a relative from a heroin overdose, Chris organized a walk to expose heroin as a real and present problem in the community. Chris’ son Ethan died from an overdose of heroin combined with benzodiazepines and alcohol. Ethan was just 20 at the time of his death.

The Herald Argus quoted Chris as saying, "The benefit of this walk is to show appreciation to our local law enforcement in their fight against this epidemic. Also to raise awareness about heroin and its users so that parents and loved ones can be more informed about the realities of this horrible drug addiction."

Observation and education are two essential tools that can lead to an intervention before the problem becomes intractable or deadly. Every heroin addict has someone who loves and cares for them – a family member or significant other. But without realizing the scope of the problem, or it’s deadly consequences, heroin use is easy to ignore. Addicts do not appear as the strung-out junkies from bad TV shows. Rather, they are pretty much normal – so long as they can maintain their “habit.”

To learn more about the signs of heroin addiction, read the page at the Mayo Clinic on signs and symptoms, especially how a teenager may appear to parents.

In La Porte, many heroin users travel to Chicago to buy the drug, but no one thinks there aren’t local suppliers. And that’s the point. Getting past the idea that it’s just a Chicago or inner city problem.

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