Heroin Epidemic: Closer to Home
B Lenz, Intervention Services
This is another installment on the series about the heroin epidemic in the Chicago area, including Northwest Indiana. Last article detailed how the drug makes it into the area and how it has spurned Chicago areaâ€™s gun violence. This piece takes a look at how young people get started in the first place, and how it affects the users and their families.
So we know itâ€™s big money. But the nuts and bolts of the criminal side of addiction seems a world apart from most. That is, until it happens to your child. Or your spouseâ€¦ Sisterâ€¦ Parent.
P.J. Newberg, a certified addictions counselor in recovery for more than 25 years, thought that it would never happen to her in the safe Indiana suburb she had chosen to raise her family. But the destructiveness of addiction slammed through her life again. Not a relapse on alcohol, but this time, in the form of her daughterâ€™s heroin addiction. By the age of 18, six of her daughterâ€™s friends had died by overdosing. Overdose is common with this addiction, since the quality of heroin varies from batch to batch, so the user can never be quite sure of how much of the actual drug vs. filler ingredients (cut) they get. Plus, if one has been off the drug, when they go back to using, they may not be able to tolerate the same amount they were use to using, so they accidentally overdose.
Newbergâ€™s daughter has struggled, going through treatment and relapsing. Getting clean than relapsing, then ending up in jail. Each time new hope formed, her daughter would falter. To give voice to her struggles and call attention to the fact that heroin has indeed become a problem in her once-safe suburban area. She formed Northshore Secret Heroin Problem, a forum for spreading awareness along the Chicago north shore. In addition to her web site, she speaks at forums, and on television, and anywhere else that is about addressing the heroin epidemic.
About Northshore Secret Heroin Problem
I am the mother of a heroin-addicted teenage daughter. I am in recovery and have been for over 25 years from alcoholism. The whole reason I got involved with anything related to heroin awareness was because I saw how heroin ruined lives and tears families apart. This drug is so dangerous and has killed countless young people. By the time my daughter reached 18, she had six close friends die from heroin. Thatâ€™s when I felt I needed to do something to helpâ€“anything. So I thought if I could just get the word out about how dangerous the drug is, how available and how cheap the drug is, to help anyoneâ€“it would be worth it. Now a not for profit organization.