November 1st, 2016
1600 Pennsylvania ave
Washington DC 20500
Dear future president,
Have you ever had a friend or a family member become a heroin addict? My name is Josie and I am writing to you about the things we can do to help lessen the use of heroin or opiates based can pain relievers in teenagers around the U.S. This issue is important to me because I believe that people who have great things in their lives, get hooked on heroin and become addicted, ruining things they have going for them. As the future president, I believe you should ban or lessen the prescription of opiate based pain relievers, fund more programs to help keep teens from starting to use heroin or opiate based pain relievers, and place stricter controls, cracking down on drug trafficking.
Opiate based pain relievers can cause severe addiction. Opiates contain the same active ingredients as heroin. In 60 Minutes’ Heroin in the Heartland, Bill Whitaker explains, “For Tyler, heroin wasn't a party drug. His parents, Wayne and Christy Campbell, say his heroin habit grew from his addiction to opiate painkillers, prescribed legally after he injured his shoulder.” While reading this article, I came to realize that people can get hooked on opiates just as easily as getting hooked on heroin. Once someone gets hooked on opiates and cannot function without them, heroin becomes a cheaper and easier solution while still providing the same high. Opiates can cause the same addiction as heroin. This type of prescription drug should be stopped from being prescribed to surgery patients to help avoid addiction and possible future heroin use.
Another way to stop the use of heroin in teens is to promote and start clubs that give teens something else to do besides turn to drugs. In the article High Schools Get Frank With Teens on Heroin Epidemic by Alexandra Pannoni, she tells about a high school who has created a support group where teens can go to find other activities to do besides do heroin. 300 of John Marshall's 1000 students are participating in this program. I think the program is an effective way to help eliminate the use of heroin in teens. The program is a positive way to teach teens that there are other things to do beside use drugs. It also teaches them that they have someone to look to for help, mentally and physically, if they ever do find themselves using. This program has had great effect on lessening the use of heroin at John Marshall, and it could at many other schools as well.
Lastly, placing stricter controls on heroin trafficking could also help lessen the use among teens. As you bring up this the side of the topic, people might begin to argue saying that the smuggling is already illegal, what more could they do to stop it. I believe that if we increase random drug searches in areas of the U.S. when use is most common, we could encounter much more, putting a stop to it being used. In the article Addicted to Heroin: 'I'm Literally Just Rotting' by Andrew Sullivan, the story of Ashley is told. As she is interviewed, the reporter explains “she tried smoking hash with a friend. After a few weeks of using the drug, her friend came clean; the drug that they'd been smoking was actually heroin.” Had the ban on herion been stricter, her friend may have not been able to get ahold of heroin, preventing her addiction. If the drug searches became more frequent and had the controls been stricter, addictions like Ashley's and many others could be avoided.
As the future president, I believe it is your duty to help put an end to the rising crisis of heroin and opiate abuse in teens. As the rate of heroin uses increase among teens, people begin to be more cautions when prescribed opiate based pain relievers and create support groups. If we as a country were to ban opiate based pain relievers from being prescribed, increase support groups in schools and place stricter controls on heroin, we could help out an end to this crisis.
Pannoni, Alexandra L. "High Schools Get Frank With Teens on Heroin Epidemic." US News. U.S.News & World Report, 17 Oct. 2016. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.