Dear Future President,
Imagine you’re at work, in the car, or even just relaxing at home. All of a sudden, your phone starts to ring. You check to see who’s calling you, but the number isn’t in your contacts. You answer, wondering who it is, but you assumed it’s probably just an automated telemarketer. To your surprise, it’s not. It’s a nurse from the local hospital. She tells you that your child has just been admitted in critical condition, and the doctors think it might be related to a heroin overdose. Hearing this makes your world spin. You can’t think clearly now, and everything seems fuzzy. Fortunately, you only have to imagine this scenario. But unfortunately, it’s a sickening reality for too many parents in the United States. Though it’s mostly young people using heroin and suffering from it’s awful effects, all age groups can use it and many are; everybody is at risk. Heroin use in America, especially among younger people, is ruining lives, and many measures need to be taken to help this ever-growing issue.
In the United States, sickening amounts of people have been dying lately because of heroin use. Heroin is no doubt one of the most dangerous drugs around. According to an article written by Jennifer Magid in Current Health 2, “because [heroin] comes in many forms and strengths, there is a high risk of accidentally overdosing. Heroin can kill by rendering a person unconscious and stopping him or her from breathing.” Unfortunately, too many people aren’t thinking about how heroin might actually kill them when they’re doing it. Here’s a fact from an article written by Don Sapatkin for The Philadelphia Inquirer to consider: “Death rates from heroin overdoses nearly tripled just between 2010 and 2013 nationally and in Pennsylvania, according to federal mortality data. They quadrupled in New Jersey.” That bit of information really speaks for itself. The number of people dying in America from heroin use is rising, and fast. Heroin is such a deadly drug, yet people still continue to use it. Why? The answer most likely partially lies within the fact that people simply don’t know or disregard that using heroin can actually hurt them; both deadly mentalities that more times than not put heroin users in their graves. Everybody, especially kids, need to have it engraved in their heads that heroin use can kill them very easily, and that the drug is not something to mess around with. It’s no joke.
Equally important, heroin use is not only killing people in the United States, addiction to the drug is also trashing people’s lives. Heroin is a very addictive drug, arguably one of the most addictive drugs out there. Sometimes, even taking it once can be the start of an addiction. Heroin’s effects are what make it so addictive. Unfortunately, overcoming wanting to experience these effects is no walk in the park for a human body. Also included in the article from Current Health 2 I mentioned earlier is the fact that “people withdrawing from heroin feel nauseated and vomit, have terrible pain and insomnia as well as diarrhea, and can’t help craving the drug.” Heroin truly puts people in a horrible physical state, yet this drug is still being used by hundreds and thousands of Americans. Again, why is this? Like I’ve said before, it’s probably partially due to unawareness; people just don’t know or think heroin will tear them up so badly. Everyone must be aware of the bodily damage that will result from heroin use and addiction. All Americans must be educated about the nasty effects heroin use has on the human body.
Lastly, heroin is not only bringing a world of problems into the lives of the drug’s users, but also into the lives of their friends and family. Watching a close friend or family member struggle with drug use must be one of the worst feelings a person can experience, partly due to the fact that it can be hard to help someone near to you who’s having a hard time because of drug use. Sometimes, you don’t even know that somebody close to you is battling with drugs, and you don’t find out until it’s too late; you never even get the chance to help them. According to an article put out by Targeted News Service, “The Fairfax County [Virginia] Fire and Rescue Department (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fire) has also tracked a rapid increase in heroin overdoses in the past several years. Between Sept. 1, 2011 and Aug. 31, 2014, a total of 291 patient contacts were identified as being related to heroin use.” Heroin use is hospitalizing people, killing people, and causing users to develop life-shaking addictions. But like I’ve mentioned, heroin users aren’t only negatively affecting themselves. Each heroin user, each one of those 291 patient contacts, they’re all somebody’s son or daughter, mother or father, even somebody's brother or sister. A drug user’s family and friends are very, very much affected and hurt by the consequences the user faces because of their habits. This aspect of heroin use must be made a point to be aware of. Everybody should know that heroin use doesn’t only ruin the user, but everybody else in the user’s life who loves and cares for them.
To conclude, I’d like to add that people choose to do heroin for a variety of reasons. Some people are struggling with their mental health and turn to the drug as a way to cope, others may think that doing heroin is simply “cool” or the popular thing to do. Regardless of any reason why somebody might choose to do heroin, everybody, especially youth, must be educated beforehand about the terrors heroin can unleash on an individual's life. How truly horrible heroin use is needs to be stressed way more in standard health classes in American schools. Also, mandatory heroin awareness days or weeks should be carried out in schools and businesses alike across the United States. The issue of heroin use is really downplayed in the public, especially in schools, where the most common victims of heroin use spend a lot of their time; America’s kids and teens. Young people must be educated about the drug and the consequences of using it thoroughly in school, and they should also be genuinely encouraged to seek help if they or someone close to them is struggling with heroin use. Stressing this issue to the public is not a hard practice to implement. If we continue to half-discuss the raging heroin use problem in America, kids and adults alike are going to continue to fall victim to this life-wrecking and killer drug, and at higher rates than ever. I’ve heard too many stories in my own social circle about young people dying or ruining their lives because they chose to use heroin, and it really hurts my heart. I really hope with you as president, we can work together in America to raise awareness and educate our youth about the true dangers of heroin use.
Madi S., Michigan