Heroin Epidemic in My Front Yard

LP

Another graduate of my children’s school has overdosed.  I think that makes 9 or 10 this year alone.  We are a small school district, only 2.3 square miles, the second smallest in the entire state of Pennsylvania.  Our graduating classes are usually less than 100 students a year.  My kids, soon to be in fourth and third grade, have yet to have a class bigger than 21 students.  We are a very small community, and our children are dying from heroin at an outstanding rate.  10 young adults since January 1, 2014.  That’s the equivalent of 6% of the entire high school student body.

It is an epidemic.  And it’s ALL of our responsibility to do something.  I call the cops on teenagers in the park when I see fights or vandalism or teenage drug deals in front of my house. It bothers me that I have to and it scares me for retaliation.  I do live right across the street from the park.  The park where sexual favors are being trades for heroin.  My kids love that park.  I bought my house based on proximity to said park.  I thought it would be great to have a park so close.  Now I have to think of excuses everyday why they can’t go to the park.  I can’t keep them inside all of the time.  I can’t protect them when they go to school.  It’s not the school’s fault, nor is it their sole responsibility, drugs have always been in schools. But something must be done. The school is not keeping the drugs out AND they are not getting the kids the counseling they need.  Of course, I’m not surprised that the school isn’t doing enough.  How can they afford to?  We don’t even have a librarian or a NURSE in the elementary school.

My dear state governor SLASHED education funding three years ago and it’s only gotten worse since.  Our district lost over $1 million dollars a year!!  Like I said before, we are a small district, we don’t have a huge tax base.  That cut nearly shut our schools.  We lost the librarian and the nurse and field trips and full-day Kindergarten and who knows what else.  The quality and variety of the lunches suffered.

I think back to my high school years and remember all the kids I knew who were on drugs.  There was no heroin. There were the underage drinkers, of course.  It was fondly called the “21-on-the-weekends disease.” That was common enough but nobody died. Not that alcohol doesn’t kill people, it most certainly does!  But the wine-coolers around the bonfire of my day certainly weren’t the same as heroin.

There were the stoners, who skipped class and showed up smelling of smoke.  Some of my friends reported smoking pot in the bathroom at school.  None of them died.  They are all alive and well today.  We talk on Facebook.  Some of them are extremely successful today.

A few kids I knew did psychoactive drugs, ‘shrooms or acid.  Not too many of the student population did, and they are also still alive.  Apparently, there was more cocaine in the school then I ever knew.  It’s still not heroin.  I’m pretty sure all of those coked-up students are still alive.  It’s almost been twenty years since I graduated and not a single person has died from a heroin OD from my graduating class.

That was it.  There was no tainted Molly.  There was no Meth.  There was no HEROIN.  Nobody did heroin.  Nobody talked about heroin.  I didn’t even know where you would find it, New York City maybe? 431 miles away?  I didn’t know anybody who did heroin until the neighborhood kids started dropping like flies..

Now it’s in the park across the street from my house.  It’s in the ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!  The kids from my school school district are DYING.  And it’s not just us, it’s not just here, it’s everywhere.  It’s the drug of choice it seems.

They arrested someone selling heroin right outside of the elementary school.  Which is incidentally right behind the State and Local Police Barracks.  The gall of these drug dealers: selling heroin to children at school, practically on State Police property.

When I ask my neighbors if they are aware of the problem, they all have a personal experience of knowing someone who is affected by heroin addiction TODAY.

Our community is lousy with heroin. Yours probably is too.  I had to research heroin first, so I could tell my kids all about it.  They were 9 and 7 at the time.  I had to be very specific about it, what it was, what it looked like, how people ingested it. I didn’t know this kind of stuff.  Heroin was never part of my world.  I googled it.  Did you know heroin is cheaper than weed??  $10 a bag or perhaps just a blow job.  It can be smoked, snorted, or injected.  I didn’t know what it looked like.  I didn’t know you could smoke or snort it!  I always thought heroin was for skid row, not my tree-lined neighborhood. FALSE.

Pay attention to the signs and your prescription drugs.  Prescription drug abuse is a direct cause of heroin addiction.  I have Percocet in my home right now, legally prescribed by my doctor after my recent gall bladder surgery.  I counted the pills, I have seven left.  I have them safely stashed away and I always tell my kids to only take their own prescriptions.  We have to keep talking about it!  Talk to your kids and know their friends.

I’ll probably be watching the park with my binoculars again today.  Right after I go talk to my kids, now 10 and 8, about heroin again.  They need to know.  Heroin kills.

My deepest sympathy to all families affected by heroin addiction.  If only we could ensure that this week’s death would be the last.  RIP Ryan and all of the recently deceased students of Iroquois School District and the world.

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