Over 600 Dead This Year in Massachusetts

heroin epidemic

This year has certainly been a “year for the books,” the book being the mass-casualty events surrounding the opiate problem. Earlier, over 300 had died in one Ohio county close to the beginning of the year and since then, the scene has completely deteriorated to the point where finding elephant tranquilizers in batches of heroin and huge fentanyl busts has become the norm. Not only has this year brought opiate addicts to their knees when not able to get their daily doses of methadone during hurricanes, but many of them completely lost their battle to addiction and have become just another statistic that’s sadly reported by news stations and addiction recovery advocates.

No one wants to be a statistic.

I can’t think of one single person who took their first opiate with the aspirations of destroying their lives. No one took their first painkiller, hoping that in 10 years, their mother would be crying at the kitchen table after getting the phone call no parent wants to get. No one ever took a Roxy at a party, realizing that in a short period of time they would have pawned all their belongings and would be bouncing in and out of detoxes and halfway houses, completely unable to keep their lives together.

Hindsight is 20/20 and knowing then, what most addicts know now, most of them would never have taken drugs in the first place. See, it’s a gamble when a person first takes drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse about 23% of people who try heroin will become addicted. As of 2011, over 4 million Americans had tried the drug at least once.

In Massachusetts, over 600 people have died from opiate-related overdoses this year. There have been 634 confirmed cases of deaths, all related to opiates, and state officials say that carfentanil (elephant tranquilizers) have been found in many of the heroin samples that have been seized. DEA agent Mike Ferguson said, “If anything can be likened to a weapon of mass destruction and what it does to a community, its fentanyl. Fifty times more potent than heroin, a 100 times more potent than morphine.”

While 877 people died in the state last year and the numbers seem to be dropping, that’s still a mind-blowing amount of people who have died. Those people were all sons and daughters and some might have even been parents.

We have to remember the humanity behind this whole epidemic. These addicts who are dying are people, not the dregs of society who can just be discarded and forgotten about. Our society needs to be humanistic again and realize these addicts aren’t just numbers reported as unfortunate accidents. These were people who all had the chance of having a life, but unfortunately, the drugs took them from us too soon.

If only they had found the right help

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Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 11 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.