Feeding the Addiction

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Feeding the Addiction

Colleen Shea

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Heroin addiction has been a growing epidemic within Rockingham County throughout this past year. Professionals say that the ages of people affected by this issue can range from 13 years old to mid 30’s. In the past year, 213 New Hampshire citizens lost their lives to drug-related issues. Out of those 213, 33 of them were heroin related. This drug directly affected the Coutos, a New Hampshire family. Kimberly Couto is a 49-year-old mother who lives in Newton. Couto’s daughter almost died from a heroin overdose in April 2013. People in the state have been constantly reminded of how dangerous this drug is, yet there are still limited detox programs that have been put into progress. “It’s a nightmare to get any help,” says Couto. The addicts that are seeking help have more problems finding treatment than admitting they need it.

Although there is no scientific evidence proving that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to the use of more serious ones, some people will still disagree. Although there are people who do not approve of the statistical evidence, many doctors know the long term effects of Marijuana. Patti Shea, a doctor at Hampstead Hospital, discussed the affects marijuana has on the majority of heroin addicts who have checked themselves into this facility. Dr. Patti Shea said, “Nine out of ten addicts tell me that they started smoking marijuana in high school, well before they became addicted to heroin.”

She then went on to say, “Close to no patients have said they didn’t start off by using weed…heroin addiction is like a cancer. You get the disease and it is life-long treatment. Some cancers go into remission, others don’t,” said Shea.

Not only is limited space an issue with getting patients admitted to detox centers, but money plays a large role in this as well. The state has not funded enough money to continue to create or expand these treatment centers. Many families who are struggling with this issue feel helpless, and don’t think they can sit and wait for a bed to open up. As a community, it is extremely important to spread the word and help inform people about the dangers of this addiction. Although when many people are faced with an issue that seems too far out of their hands and run from it, we need to figure out a different approach. Many factors and actions can be put into play, we just need to create a strategy to do so.

We need to ask our school, local towns, and law enforcement leaders to team up with us to help prevent and inform citizens on the dangers of early drug use. As hard as it is for people to believe that our community is dealing with this epidemic, facts show it is here and it is time to put an end to it. People need to stop fooling themselves into thinking their loved ones will not be affected because truth be told, there’s no saying they won’t. They already are.

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