Communities across the country are mobilizing to fight heroin use, Christian Science Monitor reports. Heroin use in the United States rose 66 percent between 2007 and 2011, and it has spread from urban areas to suburban and rural communities. Heroin-related deaths are also rising in many communities, as many people become addicted to prescription drugs and then switch to heroin, which is cheaper and easier to obtain. Heroin is especially addictive.
Christian Science Monitor profiles multiple communities that are raising awareness and dealing openly with the growing problem of heroin addiction. Police officer, school administrators, public health experts, and the families of overdose victims are working to address the problem. Their efforts include holding community forums, fighting stigma, educating youth, and getting people into treatment quickly.
Many parents described the difficulty of helping their children get treatment, with obstacles from courts, law enforcement and hospitals. One mother described giving her heroin-addicted son vodka so that he could enter a rehabilitation program for alcoholics. Another mother, whose son later died of an overdose, said that her son told her, “I don’t know why they keep throwing me in jail. The only person I am hurting is myself.”
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