Heroin, a Tioga County epidemic— - TiogaPublishing.com: Opinion

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Heroin, a Tioga County epidemic—

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Posted: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 12:47 pm | Updated: 3:22 pm, Tue Jan 3, 2012.

To the editor:

Most of us have heard of heroin and that it is being used in epidemic proportions. It is cheap, strong and almost instantly addicting. What many don’t know is that the addicts usually don’t start with heroin. Young people are finding it increasingly easy to get narcotic pain medicine like Vicodin and Oxycotin in their own homes. We live in a society where medical practitioners are encouraged to render us pain free, hence, the upswing in narcotics prescribed and abused. Parents, grandparent, etc. need to lock these medicines up.

People who receive these prescriptive drugs and then turn around and sell them should know what it is that they are doing to a whole generation! When the supply of prescription narcotics is cut off, and the person who you, willingly or unwillingly, were supplying and addicting is now withdrawing. What do you think they are going to do? The answer? The local heroin supplier. They are plentiful and heroin is cheap.

We cannot blame this one on the gas industry, folks! Heroin has been plentiful and potent in this country since we went to war with Afghanistan. The heroin that is coming into this country and Tioga County is extremely potent. It robs the brain of the “feel good” endorphins that occur naturally. The endorphins control pleasure, get released during times of stress, during exercise, etc. Each shot of heroin is like a controlled shot of endorphins.

Heroin is very difficult for most to detox and stay clean of. It is easy to get into, but will not let you out without a great deal of help.

Alcoholics battle every day to stay sober and they have many options to help them. AA is one. A drug addict is a “junkie.” Most people perceive them as the scum of the earth and that society would be better off without them. Well, if you believe that, then wake up. Our best and brightest minds are falling victim. Narcotic/heroin addiction can no longer be the quiet embarrassing social disease it once was. If we don’t open our eyes, it will consume Tioga County like it has in so many other rural communities in the U.S.

Our local law enforcement, probation officers and county prison are overwhelmed by this type of drug addiction. It is insidious. Theft and violent crimes are on the rise. Our emergency rooms are seeing an increase in overdoses and unwilling self-detoxing addicts.

Our Tioga County court system seems to have a rehabilitation mind frame and has been very effective, but you have to get into the system (commit a crime) to get help. A 30-day rehab is not adequate for most to stay clean from opiates. Tioga County has no medically-supervised facilities, inpatient or outpatient, to treat opiate/heroin addiction other than the prison.

Marijuana can no longer be seen as the gateway drug! The gateway drug is right in your medicine cabinet: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, codeine, fentanyl, to name a few. And the perfect accompaniment for their high are your antianxiety/tranquilizers like antivan, valium, xanax, etc. Let’s start small. Please lock up your drugs. Our children’s live may depend on it!

Anna Vail

Wellsboro

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