Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Today is Day number sixteen of the April Blogging Challenge and the day for the letter P. I chose for this letter to discuss promote awareness which is something I've been doing since coming out of the stigma of this addiction last year and starting this blog, as well as through this challenge. Awareness is something we don't have enough of.
Here are some facts about the heroin epidemic in this country.
Currently, 23 Million Americans are classified as having a substance abuse dependence and are addicted.
11 Million of those classified with drug abuse problems are between the ages of 12 and 29 years
old. 9 out of ten of those survey said their abusing substances before the age of 18. 90% of addiction starts in the early teen years.
Of those numbers, 90% are not getting the help that they need. Also
On any day in this country,
7,540 teens between the ages of 12 and 17 will drink alcohol or try some form of drug (legal or illegal) for the first time today
4,365 teens between the ages of 12 and 17 have already used some form of an illicit drug already.
2,466 teens between the ages of 12 abuse a prescription pain medication like OxyContin, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Percocet etc..
85 Million people are affected by this. They are parents like us, siblings, relatives, friends and spouses who love someone addicted to powerful drugs.
Death from overdose is now the #1 leading cause of death exceeding heart attack, cancer and car crash fatalaties.
The bad part about this addiction is it a treatable illness. People do recover from this. You most likely encounter someone every day and wouldn't know it unless you knew that person privately or they told you about it. This doesn't just affect the needy or the poor or those less fortunate people. This reaches into every class of citizen in this country. Most are still living in the stigma; the others just haven't made it here yet.
I think people are scared to think about it much less talk about it. Folks, I am here today as a parent of adult kids addicted be it alcohol or drugs telling you to TALK ABOUT IT.
NOT TALKING ABOUT IT HAS BEEN THE PROBLEM.
We need more community awareness to get rid of the stigma. The stigma of this disease is worse than loving someone with the disease of addiction. In fact, it is the stigma that is killing most of them. There is so much shame, fear, isolation, and hopelessness on both sides of the addiction. Those who are addicted as well as those of us who love someone addicted to these powerful drugs. We need more parent awareness in the hopes of preventing one more statistic. We need more awareness in the schools, in the clubs that these kids belong to.
I want to be open about it with you, always. Open up the discussion with your kids. None of us on this side ever hoped to raise a heroin addict yet here we are today, our numbers are growing. I and many others just like me belong to, the Mothers and the Parents of an Addict. A Club that none of you wish to belong to.
I talk about it. I am very open about it. I am very honest. I don't cut corners about this subject. I am here today to tell you that there are no casseroles, pies or cakes for this disease and that Disney doesn't perform at funerals. Just in case you are wondering being blunt about it has a time or two sparked those who have called me an ass.
Back when I was raising kids we didn't have the Internet and all the information available today. We had the material available from the schools and doctor offices. None of that information and none of the material printed in that time was enough to prepare us for what happens when our children become addicted to some powerful drugs.
We parents of the 90's relied on the program of D.A.R.E. to answer questions our kids may have been afraid to ask us. Boy look where that got us. In fact, 85-90% of the D.A.R.E. generation are now affected by drug abuse. I asked my Generation Rx adult kids suffering addiction, didn't you learn anything from D.A.R.E.? They told me, those officers only wanted to know if you were using drugs.
So lets you and I have a discussion, can we?
One important thing I'd like to ask you is, is your child or someone you love using drugs?
Just how exactly do you know your child isn't using drugs? Did they tell you? Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't trust anything my kids ever told me and they are grown up. I have a hard time believing them even today. I asked you that question because the earliest signs get missed. When they are teenagers it's easy to call it a phase, or that they are just being teenagers, or that they are acting rebellious and play off a lot of the earliest signs that you will miss. Check your spoons. Check your shoe strings. Is your aluminum foil suddenly disappearing?
Just because you don't think this is happening or maybe it isn't happening to someone you love today doesn't mean you should turn away from the grim statistics or turn a blind eye away from those of us who do. If it's not your child using heroin at the moment, how do you really know?
Do you know the signs of heroin abuse? Do you know where your child is right now? Do you know who your child is hanging out with? Do you know their friends? Do you know you can buy Heroin (and other drugs) online right in the comfort of your home? Do you know that your child could buy deadly street drugs right on the street for as little as $20?
In today's generation with this heroin epidemic so rampant and taking our children too soon is that we need to stop worrying about being so politically correct all the time where heroin and this epidemic is concerned. Take the made for Disney bull crap out of it and speak the harsh reality.
Its name is heroin and it will rob and destroy your life.
Its name is heroin and it will kill you or someone you love.
Go to a funeral of someone lost to this addiction. Stand over the casket of a young life taken too soon from a heroin overdose. Listen to the cries from those who love them and you will know that Disney doesn't perform at funerals!
Do you really know it's not your child?
There is so much information out there today. Educate yourselves. Your child's life may just depend on it!
I know this was some powerful information and words. I hope that you will come back tomorrow to read my post about Questions I have about Marijuana X.
Credits for this post:
Statistics from The National Institute on Drug Abuse For Teens
Letter pic Blogging A-Z
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