With all this going on physically, the mind itself is also taking a harsh beating. Heroin easily ruins relationships with significant others, family members, friends, and even between the user and themselves. Many users will either choose to live very secluded lives; whereas others are forced to do so when the people around them decide it’s time to let go of them. This is embarrassing and truly shameful only harming the person’s relationship with themselves as well in the process. Being so isolated allows abusers to become more depressed which would only encourage the use of more substance (Rakusen 16).
Financially supporting a heavy habit is not easy especially when most users aren’t able to hold a job, this can add even more depression along with stress and anxiety. Heroin is also commonly known to make long term users extremely paranoid to the point they will even have hallucinations of people Or creatures stalking or making attempts to attack them (NIH 17). This depressant eats away at all of one’s being, it will only leave former abusers a small percentage of who they were before their lives had been hit by self inflicted tragedy.
Although people have been actively trying to fight this epidemic with only minor success for years, there’s always more we can do. First it would be smart to educate the public on how to help if they come across an individual who seems to be overdosing. The signs of a heroin overdose are things such as blue tinted nails or lips, slow labored breathing, a feeble pulse and blood pressure, extremely constricted pupils, a disoriented sense of reality, extreme fatigue, and a dry mouth (Adamec 08).
In order to help someone who is overdosing a person must call the ambulance first, a professional will know what to do more than anyone. While waiting on the ambulance there isn’t much one can do but make sure the victim is breathing and, if on hand, administer naloxone (Volkow 14). Naloxone is a relatively new drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. This medicine, also commonly known as Narcan, was invented by a man named Jack Fisher in 1961 and is becoming more and more accessible to the public as the epidemic rises.
How it works once injected into the muscle or vein the counteractant will begin to knock the opioids off the brain receptors and put the body into an immediate withdrawal. A huge benefit of Narcan is that it cannot get a person high therefore making it a non-addictive solution to an overdose. Another way addicts can be helped is being given the opportunity to learn how to get help even if they are financially struggling.
It’s understood most individuals struggling with an addiction are also struggling financially to even support the habit let alone get help for it, so there are many different options to aid this issue. On average a 30 day rehabilitation program costs anywhere from $14,000 to $27,000 making it very hard for the average person to independently fund their recovery (Black Tar Heroin: The Dark End Of The Street. Dir. Steven Okazaki). Some ways rehabs have been able to cater to low income patients is by programs such as a grant from SAMHSA if they qualify.
Some locations may also use the “sliding scale” approach and cater the pricing to the particular person by looking at their income and financial stability. A classic method of getting help though is having the family aid them until the person can get back on their feet and pay them back little by little. The main concern at that point should not be the money but rather getting help for the sufferer, they can worry about finances once they’re well again (NIH 17). One major thing that’s affecting the way struggling addicts are approaching their problems is how society portrays them.
Obviously it’s accepted that heroin is a terrible substance and the children need to be weary of it, but it’s unnecessary to demonize the individuals who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in such a place where they battle with it. It’s already difficult to admit an issue that serious, but for others to make them feel even worse only makes it harder to come out and get better. It’s very hard to say whether this epidemic will subside soon or get worse, but instead of worrying about that it’s time to look at the facts and deal with the situation at hand.
Shown in this paper are issues the heroin epidemic has presented in America and Cape May County, as well as ways to help improve the problems mentioned. With this much information so easily accessible, it’s shocking how difficult it still is to find ways to make positive changes. If this trend of ignorance keeps up, the end to this matter will never show itself. Instead of pretending to be shocked or grief stricken when another local dies of the same thing, people should educate themselves to help fix this problem. As Americans we should unite to solve this, after all it is the United States.