If you live in or around the Pittsburgh area, you know right now there is a deadly batch of heroin going around western PA. People do a bag (I don't know if that is the right way to say it), and then they typically die. The more hardcore druggies might not die from that bag, but they will likely end up in the ER. In about about 10 days, 22 people have died from it. For the love of Pete, the story made the LA Times.
It sickens me, for many reasons.
First, I hate needles. I am very open about that. My fear of needles had kept me from getting a tetanus booster for 17 years. So I cannot even fathom wanting to do drugs via a needle.
Second, I have never gotten over the movie Transpotting. I watched that in 1996 or '97 at a theater in Oakland (the name escapes me, but it is no longer there). I to this day am still haunted by scenes from that movie, which chronicled the heroin use of a handful of young men in Scotland.
Third, like the vast majority of people, I know addicts. Some are recovering (I think that is the term) and have been clean for awhile. One person I know has been off and on drugs so many times I have lost count. I have pretty much given up hope for him. I just think it is too powerful, and he has fallen too many times.
About four years ago when I was at a park with Jordan, I was talking to some moms I had just met. During our time there, two older teens walked through the park on their way to/from someplace; one of them was the one of the mom's sons. I was pretty sure right away one of the kids was on drugs. I have seen that look. I cannot adequately describe it, other than to say their eyes have such darkness underneath them; imagine the worst dark circles you can and then multiple that. On top of the that, their eyes seem to be lifeless. Anyway, I wondered if I should say something to the mom, in case she had no clue. But I did not. It turns out that boy died before the end of last year. He apparently had been clean for a few years, but he relapsed recently.
Anytime I read about a young person dying, I assume it is drugs. Sadly most of the time it is.
J is at the age (10) where I have started to be more specific about drugs, more than just "Whitney Houston was on drugs and she died very young" and "That young guy from Glee took drugs and died." I have told her that chances are very good that when she is a teenager, someone will offer her drugs. And that she needs to understand that sometimes it takes only one time. And I said this before the deadly heroin came out. Fortunately, J leads a pretty sheltered life now and is not very social, so we probably have a few years of "safety" Many kids are not so lucky.
I have no idea what can be done. Lately there has been much talk about legalizing marijuana (which, I know is now legal in some states). I am mostly against that, only because every person I know who is or was an addict started with that. But at the same time, I know many people who have smoked weed (is that what the kids are calling it nowadays?) and have never done anything beyond that. So I am definitely not saying that just because you do dope, you will move on to harder things.
One thing I do know is no one deserves to die from a drug overdose. Too many people have been commenting on Facebook and on newspaper websites, saying things like these people deserve it and that there is one less person doing and selling drugs. Yes, I agree that each person chose to try drugs. But we don't know their circumstances. And, most meaningful and significant to me, are the loved ones who are left behind. The ones who may never get over that loss. The ones who have been probably suffering for years already.
What if the person who ODs is your child? Your sibling? Your significant other? Many, many lives are affected by drug use.
It is all so sad to me. And I just wish it would stop. :-(