It seems like just about every other week you watch the news or see the same disturbing headline in the local Waukesha newspaper or the Waukesha Patch news feed “man/woman found unconscious with a needle in his/her arm…” You’re eyes are riveted to the headline and you can’t help but listen to or read the story of how yet another Waukesha County resident met their demise from a heroin overdose. Some times the victim is in their 30’s or 40’s, but a majority of younger kids are falling victim to this terrible narcotic poison.
In some cases the victim had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse, while others simply experimented a time or two. Their history plays very little role when it comes down to it, yet some how people find a sort of acceptance in the death of a long time drug addict; maybe by reasoning that society is a little safer or better off now that they’re gone. I personally find that unacceptable! That victim is someone’s child! Whatever the case may be, the loss of lives from heroin overdoses is a tragedy! Most recently a 34-year-old Waukesha woman is facing charges after a man she was living with overdosed and died after they both took heroin. Some how there must be a way to stop the rising death toll in our community.
These people need help, understanding, and a society
that views them not as bad people – but as people suffering from a disease
Whether or not you and I want to admit it, we are responsible – each and every one of us. We must ask ourselves if there is anything that “we” as a society can do to prevent these senseless deaths and this has to be a concerted effort. 10, 20 or 50 people cannot solve this pandemic, even though at times it almost seems useless to try and fight.
In order to act as a society we have to search inside ourselves and individually ponder whether there’s anything that we personally can do to help. I’m guessing that for most people the thought of getting involved probably doesn’t interest you, at least not until your friend or loved one becomes the victim? That’s the attention getter that will usually snap all reluctance out of even the most reticent people. It’s unfortunate that it takes a heart-wrenching tragedy to get our personal attention.
I can personally say that you’re not going to find me frequenting any drug-using party or hangout in an attempt to rescue these people from themselves. Likewise I’m not going to spy on or otherwise seek out drug deal transactions. I’m certain that all of you share the same feelings. However, there are “little” things that each and every one of us can do. This doesn’t necessarily mean taking time out of your busy schedule to get involved in an area drug prevention awareness group, but these groups are very helpful in educating people on the many signs of addiction, including heroin addiction.
As the old adage goes, “knowledge is power”. This is especially true when it comes to addiction and the steps that are necessary to act as a branch of the support network. True friends don’t watch their friends consume controlled substances without expressing concern. Not telling anyone else that your friend is using heroin under the premise that you are afraid they will get in trouble will come back to haunt you should that friend overdose and die. You must learn what it is to be an enabler and how to assertively stop endorsing the slow and certain suicide of your friend or loved one. Alcohol and drug addiction has only one objective: To kill the user!
Talk and Listen
This may sound rhetoric, but the number one thing that we can do as individuals is to talk to our neighbors, friends, and family members whom we believe or know to be abusing drugs – in this case heroin. Let these people know that you love and care about them. Talk to them and support them in believing that there is hope, and that there is a solution and better life awaiting them if they stop using. Offer to take them into a detox center and support their recovery. As human beings we owe it to them to offer support.
When these individuals open up it is very important to simply listen to what they have to say about life’s problems and whatever else they feel necessary to discuss. It is not necessary to have all the answers or to know how they feel, rather it is just important that they have someone that will listen to them and at least care enough to do so.
Keep an active eye out for drug using and/or dealing behaviors of neighbors, friends and loved ones. Let them know that you are aware of their use. Warn them that if necessary you are going to take further steps to stop them if they do not take action on their own. Don’t be afraid to pick up that phone and dial 911. Your friend or loved ones life could depend on it!