Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Under the Influence: Life In Martinsburg, WV

This is the last week of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge. Today my post is about Living under the Influence of a powerful drug like heroin. I have posted a lot of information this month relating to this epidemic, how this has affected a small town in West Virginia as well as my family and the groups here locally who are helping those find recovery offering a better life without heroin and addiction. Groups helping those suffering find, hope, and healing.

Life for many hasn't been great along this stretch of the heroin
highway. I meet people every day who are affected by heroin in many ways. Some are parents, and some have lost someone they love, or someone they knew from this epidemic. A few I know myself. A few I am related to. Maybe you know someone too.

This is a short four-minute segment of life here in Martinsburg, WV a twenty-five mile stretch of the Heroin Highway...

You have to understand in most of the cases when someone has died from heroin, it isn't the heroin itself. It is the dangerous substances used to cut the heroin such as fentanyl that is causing death. An active user is at the mercy of the dealer. It's like playing Russian Roulette with the Devil while playing the Devil's advocate.

Heroin in no way discriminates which family will be affected nor whose life it will take. Heroin is like an obsessed lover with deadly charms. She is very persuasive and once hooked will stalk you for the rest of your life inside of your mind.

Often it feels as if it is a piece of a puzzle. The missing links where my son and this drug is concerned. Finding the hidden pieces and putting it together again just so it makes sense. The newspaper telling the daily stories of the devastating reality of heroin.

Then, of course, are the various memes that are shared

The answers?

This is going to take a lot of effort from so many in many different directions. One direction that is important is realizing that today's heroin isn't the same heroin from years past. In years past it was pure heroin.

Today's heroin is cut with a lot of dangerous substances- fentanyl, carfentanil, and much more. It is important to know that there are those who have died and during the autopsy, toxicology and forensic testing of blood and urine have found that heroin didn't even show up. If it did it was in smaller quantities than that of fentanyl, carfentanil, furanyl fentanyl, morphine, and hydrocodone and the other more dangerous and synthetic forms and wasn't what took their life. In a few cases, cocaine, and Xanax and the list of what makes the cut goes on and on.

Those addicted need to know there is a better life than living under the influence. Often their minds are so riddled with addiction that yes, they have to be shown the way to live life while not under the influence.

This epidemic is a twenty-first-century epidemic and problem and they are trying to treat it with nineteenth and twentieth-century methods which will not work. It has already proven that it won't work in many cases, otherwise, why do some succeed and some fail? Is it improper treatment? 

No, but today's treatment also doesn't include treating the full spectrum of addiction.

The twelve steps are not enough. It is a good place that many affected by this start with. Heck someone can purchase the big blue book from e-bay and read it in the privacy of their home. It is offered for free at meetings so why then would they pay for the twelve steps to be their only recovery? Why would insurance companies even pay for the twelve steps if someone can get it for free? 

It is because when you look at the big picture, many are not getting the big picture examined correctly. 

This addiction isn't scared straight. You cannot scare them out of their addiction with threats of jail. That hasn't proved to work ever. We didn't get here overnight, and there are no quick fixes out of it.

The first is to stop treating them like second rate citizens and start looking at why they are addicted in the first place. If the word "Treatment" is the name of the place, such as in the title of treatment, then that is what should be happening there, treatment. Treatment of the mental health issues which are either the reason for drug use or the result of drug use.

In my opinion, methadone and suboxone are not the answers either and will not get us out of this either. If that is the case, then we wouldn't have the problems we do have now. Those clinics have been around for a lot of years. Often those with addiction problems trade one addiction for another because methadone is just as addictive as suboxone, and suboxone is just as addictive as heroin. Full circle.

So, No, medically assisted treatment alone is not the answer either nor has it ever proved to be the cure.

We cannot hide them away like unwed mothers. Locally sending them far away to treatment options just because they try to appease both sides of the argument is not the answer. Never has been. It never will be. 

They need to stop showing them the way to HOPE with recovery then afterward setting up all the roadblocks that pull on the brakes and cause it to come to a screeching halt starting with the word, discrimination. 

For instance, discrimination in finding housing afterward. Many cannot find housing now because they have their addiction on a criminal record now. Being addicted to something has never been a crime. It is what one does to feed the fix that can turn criminal. But to someone who is working at recovery, these are stumbling blocks and road blocks that stand in their way.

They cannot find jobs to support themselves. Many jobs don't hire those with criminal backgrounds even if they are living recovered and drug-free. What else will they do? The answer, many of them return to the same life. The try so hard and come up against many brick walls. Set them up to fail and they will forever live, under the influence.

This addiction is now in the twenty-first century and therefore must be treated as such and not with the archaic mindset that is standing in the way, blocking the road. The first would be to stop talking the same talk from the nineteenth century and start a new conversation beginning with those who stand firm on, "not in my backyard" and change the roadmap. Otherwise, this cycle has proved it will only continue.

To many others living life under the influence is a daily reminder that our kids are dying! I hope you come back tomorrow to read, A Voice of Recovery.

Letter pic Blogging A-Z
Heroin Highway from youtube

© 2017 Gossip Girl

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