Category Archives: Heroin Addiction

A Really Strange Super Bowl Ad About The Heroin Epidemic

A strange but poignant Super Bowl ad about heroin ran in the St. Louis market.  We did not see it here in Northern Kentucky but I have posted it below for your review.   The ad was created by the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse in St. Louis. It aimed to “raise awareness about the heroin and prescription painkiller epidemic in the St. Louis area.”

The video has a light hearted sounding song with very serious and dark lyrics.  NCADA council director Howard Weissman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that nearly 2,300 young people in the region have died from heroin use since 2007.

 

Here in northern Kentucky, we have our own heroin epidemic to deal with; as thousands are petitioning Kentucky lawmakers to pass past due legislation to address the heroin issues.  A group called Northern Kentucky Hates Heroin has been leading the way.

A story in the Enquirer set out the events that are taking place in Frankfort:

More than 130 Northern Kentucky residents, gripped by a nationwide heroin epidemic that has hit their community too many times, descended Tuesday on the Kentucky Capitol demanding action from the state Legislature.

“Now is the time,” said Charlotte Wethington, a recovery advocate and mother of Matthew “Casey” Wethington, who died at 23 in 2002 from a heroin overdose.

The Northern Kentucky residents – sisters, mothers, fathers, grandparents and recovering addicts – were moved by Jessica Padgett, a Campbell County resident whose brother died in 2011 from suicide after struggling with heroin addiction, to demand change on the first day of the 2015 Kentucky legislative session.

They just might get it. Gov. Steve Beshear surprised the group by showing up at the rotunda and promising help from the state.

“We are going to make sure that the Legislature will not leave this town until we’ve passed comprehensive legislation on heroin,” Beshear said, eliciting a roar from the crowd.

The governor’s vow was welcomed by the families, whose emotions ranged from disappointment to outrage last year when the lawmakers left Senate Bill 5, known simply as “the heroin bill,” unaddressed.

“I love what he said,” said Kimberly Wright of Cold Spring, whose daughter is recovering from heroin addiction and lost a stepsister to heroin. “I am hopeful. But we’ve heard promises before.”

Parents and relatives with posters plastered with photos of their children who died from heroin overdoses lined up in the rotunda after carrying the posters through the Capitol, holding them up for anyone who would glance at them to see.

Rhonda Dupuy of Grant County stood silently, tears streaming, clutching a framed photo of son Coty Glass, who died at 22 from heroin.

“We had an appointment for Vivitrol (a medicine-assisted treatment) on May 27. There was a holdup for insurance,” Dupuy said softly. Her son died May 25 of a heroin overdose.

Mary Hunt of Union held out a framed photo of her brother-in-law Kevin Lipscomb, a paratrooper whom, she said, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and died of a heroin overdose June 5.

“He was alone,” she said.

Since then, Hunt and nearly every family member who went to Frankfort on Tuesday, has been supporting other families and advocating for treatment for heroin addicts in Kentucky.

Several said they’ve had their limit of the stories about Kentucky residents dying from heroin overdoses and other health complications.

“We can’t do another year,” Hunt said. “How many people have lost their lives because (legislators) can’t agree on something?”

Present, too, were members of NKY Hates Heroin, the family of Nicholas Specht, who died at 30 from an overdose in the bathroom of his family’s Fort Thomas home. Eric Specht, Nicholas’ father, told the crowd in the rotunda he did not have naloxone to try to save his son. The drug blocks opiate receptors, forcing overdose victims into immediate withdrawal and restoring breathing if administered soon after overdose.

“I didn’t know what naloxone was,” Eric Specht said. And the first responders to his home did not have the drug, because Kentucky law doesn’t allow police to carry it.

That needs to change, the family members agreed.

Pennie Tackett, whose son has been in recovery for nine months, was angry.

She carried a sign demanding needle-exchange allowance in Kentucky.

“HIV is coming,” she said.

Her son suffered from an abscess from a dirty needle.

Padgett handed petitions with more than 2,000 signatures favoring House Bill 195 to Rep. Tom Burch, D-Jefferson County, whose bill calls for treatment, expansion of the overdose-reversal drug naloxone and needle-exchange allowance – an issue that divided some lawmakers in Frankfort last year.

The families demanded compassion from legislators.

“This is not about politics. It’s about people who are dying from this epidemic,” Wethington said in the Rotunda.

The families and recovering addicts from the Grateful Life Center in Erlanger and Brighton Recovery Center in Florence were buoyed by Beshear’s promise of legislation this session to address the heroin epidemic.

But they are not giving up their fight. Padgett addressed them after Beshear departed.

“This is the beginning,” she said. “There is strength in numbers.”

You can read the full Enquirer story and watch video related to the event here.

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New Ohio Law Addresses The Heroin Epidemic By Requiring Education About Pain Pill Abuse

A new law requires Ohio schools to teach children about the dangers of prescription painkillers, a leading gateway drug to heroin abuse.  Pain killers (pills) were once more readily available in many areas in the country than they are now.  The highly addictive opioid pain killers led many people who had become reliant on the prescription drugs to turn to illegal methods to feed their addictions.  When the local governments and law enforcement began cracking down on drug mills and the doctors prescribing the pills, the pill supply dried up and the price of the pills skyrocketed.  The void left was then filled by the much cheaper opioid, heroin.   Young people are the most likely to develop addictions to opioids.   Dealing with heroin and the related crimes have become the focus of many policy makers and local governments in northern Kentucky.   The jails in northern Kentucky are being filled by those arrested for either trafficking or possessing heroin.

To read more click here.

 

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It’s a tradition as old as New Year’s: making resolutions. We will not smoke, or sojourn with the bucket of mint chocolate chip. In fact, we will resist sweets generally, including the bowl of M&M’s that our co-worker has helpfully positioned on the aisle corner of his desk. There will be exercise, and the learning of a new language.

It is resolved.

So what does science know about translating our resolve into actual changes in behavior? The answer to this question brings us — strangely enough — to a story about heroin use in Vietnam.

In May of 1971, two congressmen, Robert Steele from Connecticut and Morgan Murphy of Illinois, went to Vietnam for an official visit and returned with some extremely disturbing news: 15 percent of U.S. servicemen in Vietnam, they said, were actively addicted to heroin.

The idea that so many servicemen were addicted to heroin horrified the public. At that point heroin was the bete noire of American drugs. It was thought to be the most addictive substance ever produced, a narcotic so powerful that once addiction claimed you, it was nearly impossible to escape.

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