The most devastating are those like here in West Virginia. West Virginia isn't a large state. The counties in the Eastern Panhandle are not the largest counties in this state. We here are affected greatly due to the close proximity we are to Baltimore and Washington.
We here in Berkeley have twenty five miles of Interstate 81 which runs from the Maryland to the Virginia line. It has now been dubbed, the Heroin Highway.
I am still researching to get our numbers here in Berkeley County, West Virginia. Will post them soon.
In this country alone overdose deaths surpassed those of cancer and heart disease. The numbers surpass even those of gun violence.
In this great country of ours:
- 23 Million Americans are classified as having a substance abuse dependence or abuse problem.
- 11 Million are between the ages of 12 and 29.
- 9 out of 10 people started smoking, drinking or using drugs before the age of 18.
- 90% are not getting the help they need for their addiction problems.
- If we take a closer look, 90% of addiction starts in the teen years.
- 7,540 teens between the ages of 12-17 drink alcohol for the first time today.
- 4,365 teens in the same age group uses an illicit drug each day.
- 2,466 teens in this age group abuses prescription pain medication today.
How many people are impacted?
85 Million Americans are impacted by these numbers. They are you, me and everyone. These are the parents, siblings, relatives, friends and caregivers who suffer right along with the person suffering the disease of addiction.
Many of those impacted suffer greatly due to the stigma placed on the families of those with the disease of addiction.
Many suffer from anxiety and social withdrawal.
Their normal daily routines and activities are disrupted almost daily. This includes work and hygiene and often even eating and sleeping.
This can often lead to depression because of the continued and repeated feelings of sadness which leads further into isolation from others.
Their financial resources are drained.
The addiction to heroin and other drugs does not discriminate. It affects the rich and poor alike. It doesn't care how you vote. Drug addiction doesn't care if you are male or female nor does it care about your race.
On an average the Federal Government spends $374 Billion dollars per year on substance abuse and addiction. But, only 1.9% of this is spent on drug and alcohol prevention and treatment.
You may be wondering why don't families get help?
One of the biggest reasons why they don't is the social stigma relating to the disease of addiction.
The parents and family of those with addiction problems often face immense stigma. They feel alone, isolated, alienated, embarrassed, uninformed, scared and cut off from others.
Our children are perceived as "bad people" instead of being looked at as someone with a disease. The disease of addiction. Stigma prevents people from reaching out to others for support and guidance.
The good news is... You are not alone!
Addiction is treatable.
With the right program and recovery support a person can lead a very healthy and productive life after addiction.
There really is no one right program. Remember there are different ways to approach recovery. There are outpatient programs to inpatient programs. Inpatient programs will vary. The days required for stay depending on the needs of the person suffering addiction.
**Locally here in Martinsburg we have an outpatient medically assisted treatment facility, The Martinsburg Institute. Shenandoah Medical Center also offers outpatient medically assisted treatment in this area.
**We will soon have a detox center, but as many of us on this side know we still need a treatment center right here.
**There are outpatient groups and 12 Step Support Groups.
Locally here in Martinsburg, WV/ Berkeley County, WV you can find a listing of support groups by visiting NA and Recovery Meetings.
To those families affected by heroin, drugs and addiction locally we have a Nar-Anon Group which meets each week. You can get more information by visiting, Nar-Anon Meetings in Martinsburg.
The key to living a productive life is having a regular care plan and a daily support system afterwards.
Locally here in the Panhandle there are various resources and groups to reach out to. I have listed information @ Treatment and Recovery Assistance with links to get you started as well as visiting the page at Local Resources Fighting This Heroin Epidemic. Locally here in the panhandle we have The Hope Dealer Project that you can reach out to. The Bikers Against Heroin Group here in Berkeley County can also put you in contact with those who can help.
You can reach out to Martinsburg Renew Facebook Group page, or by visiting their webpage at Martinsburg Renew
Help4WV help4wv.com or call 844-435-7498.
Matthew Hammock (Sober Services) can be reached at 304-886-8322, me at 304-820-5375
You can reach out to Debbie Hill Gray at 304-820-5375
The Berkeley County Heroin Epidemic Awareness Group
Remember you can always reach out to Justin Ponton of Newness of Life at 304-972-6601 or to Kevin Bowman, who will direct the Lazarus House here in Martinsburg. Kevin can be reached at 304-412-0668.
Kevin Knowles, our Community Recovery Services Coordinator can also help you. You can call him at 304-264-1923 or 304-676-7731
I hope I have listed all of those groups and individuals involved locally fighting this heroin epidemic. If not, please comment below with your information to be added. Thank you
*These numbers for this post are for across the United States
*The information and numbers provided for this post are from Drug Free.org the Partnership For Drug Free Kids