Of all the topics I have covered in the past 18 months, illicit and prescription drug abuse stories have come up several times. I think that’s because the problem of addiction is so widespread. There is the loud public addiction that we all see on the streets. The people who have abused heroin or cocaine for so long that the ravages of their addiction is evident on their faces. The lifeless eyes, the gaunt appearance, the million mile stare, the missing teeth, and the lack of general hygiene.
This is public face of drug addiction we are all familiar with. What has caught us off guard as a society is the problem of quiet addiction, the addiction to prescription drugs. This quiet addiction effects thousands of our neighbors, friends and family members. I wrote about this problem over the summer. I hit a nerve because I was flooded with stories from readers who have people they know or family members who are quietly addicted to prescription drugs.
This quiet wave of drug addicts will eventually become part of the public addiction problem because being addicted to street heroin is exactly the same thing as being addicted to prescription opiates, the road to ruin just takes longer sometimes.
One of the stories that was relayed to me after that article hit the paper was about a young man from a nice family. He was 24 years old. He was working on his masters degree, he was employed, had a fiancé and he was planning on a long happy life. Then he broke his ankle. He had several surgeries and took pain medication to help him along. The story here is the same. After some time he became addicted to the opiate pain pills. He tried to get off them, but couldn’t. He started buying prescription drugs on the street. These pills can cost anywhere from $25 to $50 each, so you can see the interest people might have in stealing prescription drugs or taking them from parents or grand parents medicine cabinets, but back to the young man in our story.
As part of his attempt to clean himself up he started going to NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings. At one of the meetings another young man told him that if he needed something to ease himself along as he fought his addiction he could use street heroin. Street heroin, at about $10 a dose, is a lot cheaper than $50 pills. So he bought a bag of street heroin and took it. He died. Life over, decent man, gone without so much as a good by. Like a tsunami, this quiet addiction problem is building and will hit with a vengeance.
So what do we do. Pointing out a problem is one thing, finding a way to fight it is another. Greater minds than mine have been pondering that for a long time. What I have decided to do is share my experience. I have created a program for parents of kids in or heading off to high school. In the program I show the parents what the drugs and drug paraphernalia looks like, where kids hide it and how it effects them. A common belief among many parents is that because they might have smoked pot or drank beer 20 or 30 years ago they know enough to protect their kids. Some think it is a right of passage and they tacitly approve of the “experimentation” by their kids. As a law enforcement professional I can tell you they are wrong.
The drugs that are out there today are not the drugs that were out there 20 or 30 years ago. They are stronger, cheaper and more readily available than ever before. The different types and variety of drugs out there has grown very large over the years. When you include the prescription drugs that are being stolen and abused, the list is very long indeed.
The program is called: “The Signs and Symptoms of Drug Use and Abuse: to teach and scare you into action”. For any parents that are interested they can send me an email for the dates, times and locations of this program. The goal is to empower you and help you save your children. Lack of knowledge is dangerous. You need to know what your kids are facing. This program will do just that.
So getting down off my soap box now, I just want to say that we must all take an active role to solve this problem. It is getting closer to all of us whether we see it or not.
Let me know what you think. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org