The initial shame, embarrassment, guilt and shock that accompany finding out that a loved one is suffering from a heroin addiction can often lead families to decide not to discuss the issue or openly face the problem. Because heroin had previously been characterized as a drug only found in inner cities and among the older males in society, the new face of heroin addiction is taking many people by surprise.
However, the alarmingly high trend among heroin users is that the drug is moving out of the cities and into suburbia and the typical person hooked on the drug is no longer a lower class problem, but a middle and upper class epidemic as well that knows no boundaries. A possible reason attributed to high rate of heroin abuse within smaller neighborhoods is that many of the people affected by the problem refuse to talk about it.
Doctors and other experts describe the heroin problem as being the worst drug epidemic anyone has ever seen, however it is not discussed often on personal levels, but instead thought of as something “over there.” Despite the thousands of Americans dying from heroin overdoses, the media does not often report on the deaths unless it involves a celebrity, parents very rarely speak out against the drug problem that has invaded their homes and public officials are slow to pass legislation that would help addicts.
Many experts agree that the more people who speak out against heroin use and share their stories about how the drug affected their lives, the more society will become educated on the topic. When people hear from their friends and neighbors, it makes it much more real and less of an underground subject.
Drug education and prevention must move up to the next level in order to prevent further deaths from occurring. Instead of worrying about the embarrassment that may be associated with a loved one’s heroin abuse, parents and family members might consider vocalizing what is happening so other families do not have to suffer through the same issues. With the growing amount of heroin addicts in suburban areas, it would appear that families are not as alone as they might think.