Seeing that we’re officially in the merry, merry month of May, it seems appropriate to talk about flowers. Typically, we Albanians, discuss the state of the tulip beds in Washington Park at this time of the year. Are they blooming already? Will it be an epic Tulip Fest or more of a Stem Fest? I can tell you this; I ran through the park last weekend and am reasonably confident that the tulips will be at peak Mother’s Day weekend and stunning.
I love tulips but there are some other flowers popping up around here that I don’t like. In fact, I find them absolutely terrifying. Poppies. Opiates. Heroin.
In the last week or so, I’ve heard too many stories about the impact heroin is having in our region. Stories like these:
- 250 Law enforcement officers were trained recently to be able to administer Narcan to overdose victims.
- There were 9 heroin overdoses seen in a single day at a medical facility in Burlington, VT.
- Google “heroin overdose” and “Albany” and you will return a frightening number of results, completely confirming what a professor friend who has students employed in a couple of local hospitals (Albany) has heard from them – heroin abuse and overdose are regular parts of their work day.
- I had dinner the other night with a younger friend. She told me she has personally lost 6 friends to heroin. She isn’t even 25.
This is no joke. When my high school health class teacher told me that heroin was so addictive that after a single use a person could be hooked, that was all I needed to know. No, thanks. It was not for me, nor for any of my closest friends, thank God. In my life, I’ve known two heroin addicts – both thirty-something males, both smart, educated and handsome. One of them seems to be successfully battling his addiction, the other continues to struggle. While I was surprised to learn of the first guy’s addiction and recovery (we had worked together years prior to his addiction), the most astonishing thing, to me, about the second man is that he is still alive.
What’s going on? Why is heroin use so prevalent? Here are a couple of recent news articles about the growing problem which shed some light on what has been called an “epidemic.” It’s cheap. It’s available. It’s incredibly addictive. While it may too late to nip this plague in the bud, we, as a society, need to deal with it. Heroin is not the kind of “flower” any of us want to see take root.
Have you seen evidence of heroin in your neighborhood?