Emma W. Virginia

The Overdose of a Nation

The issue with drug abuse, specifically heroin, in the country will be discussed in this letter to the president.

Dear President,

I welcome you to office and congratulate you on your brand new role as the leader of our wonderful country. Although I am not of voting age yet, I wonder and worry for the future of the United States. When I am required to make decisions, I wonder what choices will be available to me in order to better my life and the lives of our citizens as a whole. In order to establish a healthy and manageable living environment for my family, friends, and even future children, I am writing to you with a relevant topic in mind. Substance abuse is a national issue that affects the general populace, whether you are a victim of addiction or simply placed in an unwelcome situation. My hope is that we can lower, if not destroy, heroin addiction in our country by working together.

Americans today tend to believe that heroin is the most popular drug used in major cities, but this is not necessarily true, in the small city of Winchester, Virginia heroin is a popular recreational drug. As a resident of this city, even I was stunned to find that a small, seemingly safe place that I have grown up in has been invaded by the use of heroin. In “Two Defendants Sentenced; Baltimore Source Pleads Guilty,” Acting United States Attorney Anthony P. Giorno states, “...Tireless efforts of law enforcement in this area to combat the epidemic of heroin overdoses that continues to torment the region…” Giorno believes that, though efforts are in fact being made to stop the spread of heroin, this narcotic is ceaselessly being sold in areas such as Winchester, Virginia though the dealers may not even be residents of the state. It is common for high school students to be involved in minor drugs, but this can and usually does escalate into something more dangerous. I am sad to say that Winchester is not the only city to struggle with heroin addictions.

The spread of heroin has begun to affect more and more suburbs in the United States. According to The New York Times in “A Death on Staten Island,” “In 2016, so far there have been seventy-one deaths reported due to heroin OD on the Island.” These deaths mostly occurred in middle class neighborhoods, affecting teens. Drug abuse isn’t a myth, and though it may not directly affect a person, I believe the truth is inescapable. Most citizens of the United States are either involved or related to someone who is in contact with drugs. The reason these drugs are becoming more popular is because heroin is now less expensive and more easily obtainable than common prescription painkillers. In 2010, three thousand deaths resulted in heroin OD in the United States, and just four years later the death total rose to over ten thousand. Something has to be done in order to stop the chaos that is drug abuse.

President, you may be wondering what my real part to play in this may be and what could be done to reduce the spread of drugs such as heroin. My answer is simple and concrete; let us open rehabilitation centers that have reduced their treatment costs. There are addicts that do want to become rehabilitated but they cannot afford treatment costs, even when provided with support from their families. As AP student Jesse Mann once stated, “There are many drug addicts who want to seek help but they are unable to do so because they do not have the required funds necessary to check themselves into rehabilitation centers.” I entirely agree with her statement as she has been personally affected by drugs through family members, as have I. On more than one occasion, drugs have destroyed the lives of several of my family members. We need to stop this madness. I implore you, President, in a nation so negatively affected by drug abuse, would you be willing to take a stand?


Emma W.

Works Cited

“Law Enforcement Officials Announce Results in Heroin Investigations.” United States Department of Justice. Thursday, June 18, 2015. The United States Attorney’s Office. Par 2. Tuesday, November 1, 2016. www.Justice.Gov

Michael Wilson. “A Death on Staten Island Highlights Heroin’s Place in ‘Mainstream Society’.” The New York Times. Oct. 2, 2016. Tuesday, November 1, 2016. www.nytimes.com

“Heroin overdoses in the US tripled over the course of 4 years.” USA Today. June 30, 2016. Tuesday, November 1, 2016. www.usatoday.com 

James Wood High School

Concerned Colonels

Letters to the Next President by James Wood High's AP English 11 students

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