Across our country, communities like Cincinnati are in the grip of a terrible problem with heroin. Gradually, over the last several years, heroin has achieved the top position as a threat to our citizens, outstripping cocaine in 2013, prescription drugs in 2014 and methamphetamine in 2015.
Opioids like painkillers and heroin have unique ability to take lives without warning. All it takes is a slightly stronger dose than usual or perhaps some time away from the drug so a user loses tolerance. Every loss of life means a heartbroken family left behind. In far too many cases these days, it also means young children who lose one of their parents. In worst case scenarios, they lose both.
Why We’re Losing So Many Parents
In 2010, the number of heroin overdose deaths began to climb steeply. The age group seeing the most rapid climb was 25 to 44-year-olds. In second place was the group aged 18 to 24. These are too often America’s parents. The younger group is likely to leave behind small children or to have pregnant wives or girlfriends.
Twenty-four year old Joshua Brabender was such a parent. In Cincinnati, he passed away of a heroin overdose on January 2nd, 2016. At the time, he had one young son and another on the way.
Robert Glatfelter was 28 when he died in Pennsylvania from a heroin overdose, leaving behind a 7-year-old autistic son.
In New Hampshire in September 2015, Melissa Riley, a nurse who became addicted to Percocet and moved on to heroin, died from an overdose. She left two sons, ages 6 and 15.
News source WCPO of Cincinnati reported on the increasing number of Northern Kentucky children being enrolled in schools by relatives because their parents passed away from overdoses or they lost custody. The heroin epidemic was cited as a major cause of the increase. In a 2010 census, more than 86,000 Kentucky children were being raised by someone who was not a biological parent. The Midwest and the Northeast are suffering the greatest losses but no region is immune.
Save the Parents, Save the Children
There’s no census showing us exactly how many children have lost a parent to heroin or an opioid. But we can get an idea from the total number of overdoses. In 2013, we lost 43,982 individuals due to drug overdoses. In 2007, this number was approximately 27,000. In 2010, it was 38,329. Year by year, we are adding tens of thousands of children to the number that have lost a parent.
Every person addicted to an opioid or other drug deserves a chance to get sober. When children are involved or when a woman is pregnant, it becomes all the more urgent to get a person into rehab at the very first moment possible.
As discussed in another article from Narconon, it’s not necessary to wait for a person to “hit bottom” before they go to rehab. When you’re dealing with heroin and opioids, disaster can strike with any dose. Even with alcohol, cocaine, synthetics and other drugs, the effects of the drugs can overwhelm the body at any time and cause death.
If this is a problem you are dealing with, call us and find out how we can help. For fifty years, we’ve been helping people recover from addiction. Let us see if we can help you, too.