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Heroin....What's that mean to you or, what do you think about when hearing that word. Another overdose, more narcan, another code, another meaningless death, or another set of parents without a child again. This drug...Heroin…= Epidemic. There’s no other word to describe it. This drug has become the drug of choice in recent years to wreak the most havoc in the families of the loved ones that abuse it and are addicted to it. They start using; dealing; using some more; then using more again; and their world starts coming crashing in on them. Their families are being torn apart by the use of heroin, with the families knowing that it’s just a matter of time before the reaper wins. This drug has no boundries; not with race, not with gender; not with socioeconomics; or with any age discrimination. Heroin has become very accessible on the streets today. Easier to get than a 12 pack of beer and  a pack of smokes. Now thats pretty damn easy; and its very sad that its come to that in this society today. Heroin overdoses are increasing everyday in all parts of this country. How do we combat this deadly issue that keeps taking many loved ones from several families. The answer is..I’m not sure any of us has an answer for this problem that has turned into an epidemic for us; the first responders, and the hospitals; because we all know jail and rehab are not the sole answers. Some of the previous popular drugs of the past has “appeared” to have come and gone “in a sense”, and once in a while these popular drugs of the past rear their ugly heads, but their use has slowed drastically. I really dont see heroin doing this anytime soon. I believe that this is a drug that has some real staying power to it. Heroin is here to stay for the long haul. From what I understand by being able to speak to some of these users, it always seems to be the same answer that I have gotten from each and every one of them. They tell me that after you do it the first time it is so addictive just after the first use because of the certain kind of high that they get. They tell me that there is no other high that they have experienced with any other drug than they have with heroin. That description reference heroin has been coming across all boundries of users. Thats why this drug has such a stronghold on todays society of users; and that’s the power of addiction. Heroin can be snorted, smoked, injested, used as a suppository in the anal cavity or vaginal cavity or its most popular route of; injection. Some of the other routes or sites that are chosen to hide this addiction from everyone are : injections under the fingernails & toenails, the webbing of the fingers and toes, injections in the gums of the mouth, and males have also been injecting in their testicles, while females have also been found to be injecting in their labia. Sometimes if these abusers are with their “friends”, and they overdose, upon arrival at the scene, you will note that the bystanders have attempted to shove ice cubes in their anal cavity attempting to wake them up from the overdose; and thats only if they have stuck around at the scene instead of fleeing their “friends” location.  Heroin is such a euphoric drug that anyone that dare tries it “usually” falls in love with its effects. Some of the abusers that I have spoken with have said that heroin initially gives them a “rush sensation” that surges into them very rapidly after an injection. They also state that the sensation is very intense, like no other drug that they have had experienced before. There is one side effect that every abuser has spoken about; and that is; after the first initial hook, they find themselves doing more and more heroin as they progress, because they are chasing that initial “high”. They also state that if they dont keep “feeding” their bodies heroin every day, they become very sick and the only way to stop the sickness is to keep putting heroin into their bodies. When they reach that point of heroin use, it becomes a sickness. A sickness that they cant seem to stop. When their life starts falling apart which doesn’t take too long, these abusers start doing things within their lives that they thought they would never do in a million years, just to be able to support their heroin use.

This heroin epidemic has done nothing but grow. It usually comes with a very sad ending. Sometimes we do make a difference in someones life by getting there in time if we are called in time to bring them back from clutches of the reaper; but we all also know that they will live to do it again, and they will if they refuse any professional help as most abusers do. Please just remember when you ‘re out there on the streets responding to these overdoses time and time again and to the same patients, dont drop your gaurd, and dont loose your cool. These people are still human beings, still have families that love them, and they are patients that need our help regardless, because thats what we do. I know you’re probably saying to yourself right now that’ “I didn’t sign up to constantly make runs on these people that have no regard for the lives of others or their own life”; but i assure you, we all have signed up regardless of the clients that we contact on the job. It is frustrating, but stay positive, because even if you turn one persons life around out of a hundred overdoses; we made a difference. Heroin has taken the lives of many good people and this drug will continue to bring its’ havoc. We have to continue to fight the fight as responders in the streets.

Heroin has become such an abused drug due to the ease of aquiring it and the cost of the drug has become much cheaper than any of the other opiods prescribed by physicians. With the lack of insurance that people have and the ease of aquiring this on the street, and now heroin is also being combined with fentanyl or carfantanil, which make heroin abuse that much more dangerous. Anyone can become addicted. Heroin overdoses has become such an epidemic and that the death toll from this drug has done nothing but rise rapidly over the past few years, the death toll for overdoses has surpassed the death toll from auto accidents nationwide according to a national statistical survey by “The National Institute on Drug Abuse” .Heroin abuse has doubled every year and continues to grow with no end in sight; and right along with the increase in use comes the increase in jail or more bodies to the morgue. Heroin used to once be considered a taboo type drug and was only found in the slums, or back alleys of the inner cities along with the homeless or less fortunate on the streets. Now heroin is the suburbs, the very wealthy neighborhoods, and in your backyards; its everywhere. These abusers have come from all walks of life, and seem to have all started in the same unique ways with prescription painkillers. When these pills were not so accessible any more, the users turned to heroin which is much cheaper and much stronger, and according to the abusers that have spoken to me in the squad, it is a much better high and a warm euphoric feeling like nothing else and makes them feel like they are on top of the world with no worries or problems and lets them relax. Drug abuse in general is a sad and frustrating detail to respond to daily, but unfortunately its here, its’ been here for several years, and doesn’t appear to be going away for many more years to come. It’s a sad and difficult time in our nation with all the shootings that seem to never go away and keep becoming more frequent. Drug abuse and the heroin epidemic have got a stronghold on a good portion of the population whereas I don’t foresee it going away anytime soon. As first responders of public safety; remember to remain vigilant, keep a cool head, and have some compassion. Remember that they are people too with loved ones at home. Who knows, one of your overdose patients could be a loved one of a friend or even a co-worker; or even worse; you could roll up to a party somewhere and find a member of your own family. How would you feel now?

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