Thursday, June 13, 2013

Heroin Addiction in Southeast Michigan


I know someone who died of a heroin overdose this spring. I know many people who have been or are addicted to vicodin and oxycontin. I am aware that there are doctors who hand out these drugs like the jar of mints on their secretary's desk.

The progression to heroin is often: 1) vicodin and oxycontin; 2) heroin.

See today's Detroit Free Press - "New, troubling heroin addiction trend grips southeast Michigan." From this article:

  • At the 99-bed St. John Providence Brighton Center for Recovery, more clients are coming in these days addicted to opiates, including heroin.
  • “Our 18- to 25-year population has exploded” in recent years, said outreach and referral specialist Scott Masi, 48. “The prescription medication problem is pushing this heroin problem. Anybody who tells you anything different doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I could poll every kid who comes in our clinic, and it’s a broken record. It’s the Vicodin and Oxycontin, and then it goes to the heroin.”
  • Authorities say a particularly toxic heroin mix known by some on the street as “black shadow” appears to be circulating in southeast Michigan communities, causing a rise in overdoses and at least one death this month.
  • During a two-day period last week, eight people overdosed in Washtenaw County alone, including one person who died. Officials there are trying to determine whether the incidents are related.
  • “You used to have one every other day or so, but now two or three a day either dying or coming in — and that’s just our hospital,” [Dr. Thomas] McKeown said. (Henry Ford Hospital)
  • The fatal overdoes in recent years often involve young men and women — some just teenagers — who are working and going to school “and who get caught up in it. You see heroin use in a population that most people don’t think of as users,” [Macomb County Medical Examiner Daniel ]Spitz said. Masi said they include addicts from successful and intact families. Athletes. Top students in school, he said.
"I call these drugs 'the beast," said the young addict who came to check out our church.

Another young man came to the altar for prayer, shaking and in the midst of heroin withdrawal.

If you are an addict and want to get on the road to freedom come to Redeemer this Sunday, introduce yourself to me (a former drug user myself from 43 years ago), and I would love to help you.