I have to say I’m completely overwhelmed by the amount of hits my post 72 Hours of Heroin has had, as well as all of the comments that were made on the post. For days I couldn’t get on Facebook without it clogging up my news feed. Hundreds of people shared and it and 30,000 people read it! I wrote that post as my own therapy, just as I do all my posts. But this post became therapy for so many more people. Thousands of people.
The comments have been so hard for me to read and even harder to reply to but I know I need to for my own therapy. Dozens of people have told me their stories with heroin. My son died, my brother died, my sister is hooked, I found my cousin dead, my girlfriend won’t give it up… It was the same story with different names over and over. I was shocked. I can’t believe how common this drug is. I can’t believe how many people are hurting so bad that they are willing to inject a needle full of street drugs into their veins.
Some of the comments were from people asking me for advice. They have loved ones hooked on heroin and they don’t know how to help them. I wish I had the answers. Anyone who knows me knows that it’s in my nature to help. I will truly give you my last dollar for food, I will find you resources for therapy, medical care, housing, schooling, whatever you need. That’s just me. So seeing my boyfriend’s nephew die like this, I’m ready to take the heroin epidemic on and somehow win! Nicholas’ whole family is coming together to fight this. We want to educate others on what they can do if there is a problem but more importantly help people say no to heroin.
I don’t have a lot of advice yet but I am taking the time to research and learn. I am not a medical professional or counselor so please don’t take any of my advice as being from a professional. I am just a person who cared a lot about someone who lost their life to heroin. I will share what I have learned so far:
1. Take the time to learn about Casey’s Law. This law allows you to place a person of any age in rehab without their consent. There are some hoops to do this so read up and be prepared.
2. Understand that addiction is an illness. Just like any serious illness, it might take more than one round of treatment.
3. Look into your insurance and see what they will pay for regarding rehab.
4. If you have a known heroin addict in your life, get Naloxone (Narcan) and carry it on your person at all times. It’s not the easiest thing to get just yet but is legal, at least in Kentucky, for a non-user to have it prescribed to them. It can save an addicts life if administered quickly after an overdose. Just make sure you use it the right way.
5. Seek out a meeting. I know you are thinking meetings are for the user. Al-anon meetings can help the family and friends cope and learn to not enable the addict while still being there for them.
6. Prevent drug use by teaching your children early in life how to deal with life’s issues. Most drug users turn to drugs because something bad happened in their life that they just couldn’t or didn’t want to handle. Take your children to counseling, read books with them about coping, talk to them about different life scenarios and let them know that heroin will kill them.
7. Watch this video and share it with your family. It’s powerful.
8. Consider signing this petition to make laws stricter for dealers.
9. If your state isn’t charging the dealers for murder, share this story: Dealers Now Being Charged in Overdose Deaths, with your state prosecutor and legislators and urge them to do so.
10. Heroin deals take place everywhere – street corners, parking lots, restaurants, upscale areas, bad neighborhoods, etc. You might witness one happen. I am begging you to call 911 as long as it is safe. If you can report a dealer without putting yourself in harm’s way, please do so!
11. Share Nicholas’ story over and over again. It seems to be helping others. Many people have told me that they have used it to discuss the epidemic with their own children.
I will share more with you as I learn more. Keep sending me your comments and questions and I’ll do my best to respond.
I have one more thing to ask of you. We want your stories. A website is being developed to bring people together on this issue. It will be used to share stories, educate people and much more. We would like to share your stories on the website. You can post your story here or email it to email@example.com. We don’t have to use your name on the website. Just let us know if you want to remain anonymous. The stories can be about your struggles with heroin, how you are dealing with a loved one who is using, how you started using or anything at all that is associated with heroin. We might not use every story but we appreciate all that are submitted.
P.S. If you aren’t following Raising2tweens on Facebook yet, you should be. 🙂
WONDERFUL piece, Gina! Thank you for all your work. Every voice counts!