Opinion

Share the cold hard facts about heroin | Publisher's Column

I was raised not to use the word “hate.” My mother used to say, you “dislike” something, don’t say “hate.”

Most of the time I’m  conscientious of that little rule.

Most of the time.

But there are times when “hate” is the only word available to describe how intensely you feel about something.

I hate heroin.

I hate what heroin does to people, and not just what it does to those who use it. It’s a drug that shatters lives and families.

In our April 19 edition of the Whidbey News-Times, reporter Jessie Stensland reported on increasing heroin use on the island. It’s an important article that I hope every parent and grandparent reads. It’s available online at www.whidbeynewstimes.com

In the article, Oak Harbor Police Detective Carl Seim expresses his fear that use of heroin, which is relatively inexpensive, may be becoming a serious problem in our community.

And heroin users seem to be getting younger.

Once thought to be a drug used more by hard-core, older users, Island County Drug Court coordinator Zachary Lively said he’s seen more 15- and 16-year-olds using heroin.

This is frightening information.

For her article, Stensland interviewed a heroin user who said heroin started showing up on the island in 2010. He said $20 will buy a user enough heroin to get two people high “for a day and a half.”

Just how big of a problem heroin is on Whidbey Island is mostly anecdotal. There aren’t studies or statistics yet that tell us exactly what is going on.

But we have representatives from different branches of law and justice telling us that they’re witnessing a troubling trend.

Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks and Langley Mayor Fred McCarthy are spearheading a subcommittee on the Island County Law and Justice Council to tackle the problem. This task force deserves the full support of all of Island County’s criminal justice agencies, each of the school districts on the island and parents.

Any effort to stem the growth of heroin use will only work if the information is factual.

Have heroin users describe for students how shooting up has affected their lives. Sure, there’s a high. But there’s also the crash that follows.

And there’s chasing that next high.

Allow people to talk about how having a heroin-user for a child, brother, sister or parent has hurt their families. Let them talk about the suffering that comes from having a loved one die from an overdose.

Ultimately, it won’t be scare tactics that bring down heroin use. It will be the cold, hard truth about how it destroys lives.

 

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