In two weeks and a day, it will have been a year since Oliver Chase Peabody left this worsened world from an overdose of heroin. He was only 28 years old and yet, he had cultivated a whole life’s worth of infectious love for those fortunate to know him. Since his untimely passing, thousands of others have succumbed to the same tragic fate. Not long ago the DEA divulged that 3,038 people perished in 2010 due to the seductive and destructive drug, and the death toll is only accelerating. Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder declared heroin an “urgent public health crisis.” It is about time. With the infamous opiate making headlines more and more, and the statistics growing grimmer and bigger, chances are the heroin epidemic has adversely impacted someone every reader knows and invaded every home.
The DEA recently released some startling statistics in correlation to this nationally rising threat. From 2006 to 2010, the reported incidents of heroin related deaths have risen 45 percent. While reports haven’t been accumulated yet for the most recent years, DEA officials and nation wide police reports warn that the problem has already become substantially larger.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy also publicized their own findings for 2010, claiming 1.5 million Americans were habitually using heroin that year. That means over a million parents, friends, relatives, and children, or someone everybody inevitably knows, has injected their veins and impacted their heath with the deceitful drug. Potentially every seemingly impermeable home has been impacted in some detrimental way by heroin. And the sobering figure is apparently only growing.
With the recent death of beloved actor Philip Seymour Hoffman acting as the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back, it seems the public is now prepared to shed some light on this cruel and pervasive dark shadow. Attorney General Holder has urged all police precincts to train and administer Naloxone, a drug that has saved 10,000 people since 2001 by counteracting the life-threatening depression of the nervous system, which causes victims to stop breathing. 17 states and DC have currently revised statewide access to the invaluable drug, making it available to more agencies in need. With more desperately needed awareness of heroin’s corrupting power comes more preparation and prevention, and it could not come at a better time.
While agencies report exponential rises in heroin overdoses in northern Texas, northern Ohio, and Indianapolis to name a few, it seems the appropriate and obligatory time to identify this diabolical enemy and arm the nation to its inherent danger. Start with the source. The most common gateway drug for a heroin junkie, according to the DEA, is oxycodone.
It is no surprise that oxycodone and similar opioid pharmaceutical-related incidents are simultaneously on the rising trend with heroin. Many chronic users graduate to the needle from the synthetic prescription pill. To strike heroin at its wretched heart would require striking its domesticated prescribed form as well. This is not an easy undertaking, given that oxycodone and its many minions killed 16,600 people of their own in 2010.
With harrowing death tolls climbing higher and creeping disturbingly closer to home, it will only prove increasingly more arduous to overtake this nation wide affliction. The DEA is making admirable strides along the Mexican border, where most of the drug is deviously delivered from, but FDA policy and the White House will certainly have to lend a legislative hand as well. In the end, the ultimate choice is with the user, whose life rests delicately in his or her hands. The education and shared experiences that lost soul possesses could mean making the choice that saves a life.
Oliver Peabody, AKA Oli, made the quintessentially wrong choice last year, as millions have, and not a day goes by that those he left behind do not mourn his actions for him in his anguished absence. In the naive blink of an eye he was gone forever, but hopefully not in vain. The issue is no longer contained to the gutters and alleyways of everyday discussion; it has infiltrated virtually every unsuspecting neighborhood. Before this societal disease infests Americana past the point of recovery, it must be suffocated and snuffed out, otherwise before long, every home will have a sad story as result of being impacted by the nations newest epidemic: heroin.
By Brandon Duringer