Heroin: A Clear And Present Danger

Heroin: A Clear And Present Danger
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144 Will Die Today

Missy Joy Hardy

On election day, last November, I sat behind the curtain in a small town in Southern New Hampshire, held my nose and voted for “Crooked” Hillary.

As a disabled American who overcame a brain injury at birth to excel in sports and become a bestselling author, Donald Trump lost me the day he mocked disabled New York Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from a congenital joint condition, at a South Carolina rally.

That said, 30 years ago my life went something like this:

Like a doctor performing microscopic surgery, I pour the contents of the rainbow bags into my cooker, reach for my bottle of water, insert the syringe, and draw up about 20cc. I squirt the water into the cooker, watch it move across the white powder and turn to liquid. I move my lighter back and forth under the cooker until the heroin bubbles. The smell is sweet. It makes my stomach turn. I bite off a small piece of a cigarette filter and spit it into the burning liquid. It’s time.

I insert the needle, there’s a little sting, pull back on the plunger, and a dash of red-blue blood snakes up the middle of the clear liquid. A direct hit. Total euphoria!

Now, all I can think about is where will I get my next bag. But I wasn’t always a homeless heroin addict. I was a good kid, an altar boy, even an all-conference athlete. What’s not funny, I only took heroin once. Imagine that? Once! After that, heroin took me any place it wanted to. It changed me. I will do anything to get high, and I will crush you if you try to stop me. I’m scum. Nothing I say is true except this... I am dying.

In 1987, I beat a 10-bag-a-day heroin habit. Somehow, I pulled myself out and went on this unbelievable journey. I’ve seen the crimson-red-blood snow on the streets of a war-ravaged Sarajevo. I’ve directed a documentary film, won a duPont-Columbia, worked on and acted in a feature film that won two Academy Awards, wrote a memoir and a bestseller. I’ve seen everything in my career. However, I have never in my life witnessed anything like the current heroin epidemic in America.

Due to the explosive danger that has put all of America in grave peril from the collateral damage of this epidemic. I call on President Trump, to declare the opioid addiction crisis a national emergency immediately.

As a nation, we must wait no longer wait. Heroin is not a political football. We must unite, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Gays, Lesbians, Transgenders alike, Americans joined in one humanitarian effort to halt the death toll and suffering of those left behind to deal with their grief.

Today, most families are extremely busy dealing with everyday life. Most have heard or may have been personally touched by the overwhelming deaths from opioid overdoses. However, for the sake of time, I have constructed a very simple outline with bullet points to explain the birth and life of the epidemic.

1. How did we get here? As Forbes Magazine reported on July 1, 2015, meet the OxyContin Clan.

<p><strong>Raymond and Beverly Sackler</strong></p>

Raymond and Beverly Sackler

Taco van der Eb/Hollandse Hoogte/Redux

2. Big Pharma continues to haul in huge profits.

  • A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) produced an alarming statistic: “In 2015, the amount of opioids prescribed was enough for every American to be medicated around the clock for three weeks.”
  • DEA Whistleblower, Mr. Rannazzisi told “60 Minutes”: ... the opioid crisis was allowed to spread ― aided by Congress, lobbyists, and a drug distribution industry that shipped, almost unchecked, hundreds of millions of pills to rogue pharmacies and pain clinics providing the rocket fuel for a crisis that, over the last two decades, has claimed 200,000 lives.

4. The heroin epidemic has become a multimillion-dollar business.

  • For example, private equity firms like New York’s Deerfield Management are throwing money into recovery centers. They invested $231.5 million into Recovery Centers of America, and RCA is charging $1,000 per day for a bed.
  • On June 5, 2017, the New York Times reported that drug overdose deaths in 2016 would most likely land someplace between 59,000 and 65,000 Americans. That is a 19 percent rise in deaths from the 52,404 recorded in 2015.
  • 4,367 Americans die every month from an accidental overdose of heroin.
  • 144 people in the United States will die today from an accidental overdose of opioids. At least 31 will be young females.

6. The opioid epidemic is the worst health crisis in America’s history.

7. Opioids could kill nearly 500,000 Americans in the next decade.

  • In the worst-case scenario put forth by STAT’s expert panel, that toll could spike to 250 deaths a day, if potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil continue to spread rapidly and the waits for treatment continue to stretch weeks in hard-hit states like West Virginia and New Hampshire.
  • If that prediction proves accurate, the death toll over the next decade could top 650,000.
  • There are so many deaths; some coroners are running out of room for bodies.

President Trump has the power to stop this epidemic in its tracks. Over the past several months, it has been reported that he will declare the opioid crisis a national emergency. But for some reason, he is hesitant and has yet to step up to the plate.

Without a doubt, the heroin crisis is a clear and present danger to America. It is time to mobilize every American in a united mission of social responsibility.

On behalf of the dead, the parents of the dead and those presently dying, I ask that you would take 5 minutes out of your busy schedules and call your Congressman or Congresswoman to demand that President Trump declares the opioid crisis in America a national emergency.

Our great history is proof, Americans standing as one, can take on the impossible and succeed.

Ritchie Farrell is the author of I am a Heroin Addict.

Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.

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Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.

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