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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

An Open Letter To Young Buckeyes About Heroin

April 8, 2015

Dear Young Buckeye,

Heroin is a highly addictive drug which endangers your life. As you likely already know, it is a substance derived from morphine that is usually injected; however, it can also be snorted or smoked. Foolhardy people take heroin to escape problems, to relieve anxiety and depression, and simply to become chemically intoxicated.

You must realize buying, possessing, and using this illegal substance is against the law. If you are arrested for a heroin-related crime, you may find your conviction prevents you from achieving your future dreams -- getting employment, going to college, joining the armed forces, even making friends and acquaintances of your choosing.

Young people like yourself are at a particularly great risk from this deadly substance. If you choose to experiment with this opiate drug, you will develop a tolerance, and soon, you will find you have to use more heroin to achieve the same "high," or intensity of pleasure you crave. Many people report a psychological addiction after the first use, especially when a needle is used in injecting heroin.

Buying heroin is "a pig in a poke" -- you never know the actual strength or purity and, therefore, purchasing the product puts you at a constant risk of drug overdose. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the heroin on the streets today is 80-90 percent purer and much cheaper than the heroin of the 1970s. The fact is people are getting addicted more easily by using less.

Many accidental overdoses have occurred when a batch of particularly pure heroin is released onto the streets, overwhelming the built-up tolerances of regular users. You can die with one dose of potent heroin even though you believe you can control the safe administration of your drug.

In order to increase the potency of their product, dealers even lace heroin with other dangerous drugs like Fentanyl, a narcotic that can be up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Fentanyl was actually developed to ease extreme pain for patients in the final stages of diseases such as bone cancer. It, itself, is a very dangerous, addictive substance.

A recent surge in overdose deaths from Fentanyl-laced heroin forced the Drug Enforcement Administration to issue a nationwide alert. Please understand the importance of avoiding this unintentional poisoning: Fentanyl-laced heroin caused an epidemic of overdoses between 2005 and 2007, when more than 1,000 people in Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia died.

Injecting heroin also puts you at risk for two other serious problems: the transmission of HIV and other diseases (especially Hepatitis B & C) through sharing needles, and the dangers of injecting crap under your skin.

As you abuse heroin, you will also suffer scarred and/or collapsed veins, bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves, abscesses and other soft-tissue infections, and liver or kidney disease.

Using this drug regularly can also cause lung-related health issues like pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Pregnant women who use heroin are at a higher risk for miscarriage, as well as delivering a premature baby. Once the baby is born, the infant is at a higher risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The terrible effects of your heroin use will affect every phase of your normal lifestyle -- even something as simple as eating. Constipation caused by a combination of poor eating habits and the effects of the drug on the bowels can lead to hemorrhoids. You will also likely suffer from malnutrition because you are never hungry while you are addicted. And, as you know, being malnourished means you are less able to fight off viral infections and illnesses.

Every time you use heroin, you are risking an overdose and these other health consequences. Not only is using the drug dangerous to your health, but once the substance makes you drowsy and listless in the second stage of the experience, you are vulnerable to being robbed, physically assaulted, or sexually assaulted.

Please, never use heroin -- not even once. Instead of beginning this vice, if you feel vulnerable, see a professional counselor or a trained health care person for help. Despite what you may believe, you are an important young person who deserves love and attention. Even if you have used heroin and you feel hopelessly addicted to the substance, get assistance immediately. Help is available.

One last thought -- having fun and gaining new, exciting freedoms are important parts of growing up; however, taking risks that will lead to a life of abuse is immature and irresponsible. Heed the wise words of addicts who warn of the three possible outcomes of heroin addiction: "Your addiction will lead you to rehab, to prison, or to a very early grave."

Your Loved Ones and Your True Friends

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