Butler County, Ohio has been faced with a severe heroin epidemic. Like many parts of the rest of the country, they have been struggling with finding the right treatment for hundreds of their residents addicted to heroin.
However, the Butler County commissioners had an insight recently revealing the idea of using their old Resolutions jail for a heroin addiction sober living facility. In June of this year, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Governor John Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine convened in a state-wide summit to address the state’s problem with heroin abuse. The size of the problem was indicated by the fact that 83 out of 88 Ohio counties sent representatives, totaling 900 attendees to the conference.
Out of the summit was the decision to create a sober living home for addicts. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said about the sober living home, “it could be a regional solution to the horrific plague that has permeated the entire state.”
Other programs in the state include the opportunity for relatives to force their loved ones into sober living treatment. Prosecutor Mike Gmoser of Ohio has been talking with heroin addicts during their sober living treatment and found information that could help children and adolescents away from the drug. Essentially, the entire state, from officials to residents are attempting to find a solution to the problem.
It’s important to know that heroin is a dangerous drug. It’s so addictive that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, you’re likely going to get hooked. Anyone from any socioeconomic group can become addicted to heroin within a short period of time. Plus, the drug essentially rewires the brain suppressing all instincts and slowing down the nervous system. The drug can be hard to break, as many news reports, articles, and television programs are revealing. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of heroin users almost doubled. In 2007, for example, 337 thousand people were addicted to heroin in America and in 2012 that number jumped up to 669 thousand.
In Ohio, throughout the east coast, and on the streets of Philadelphia, men and women are using heroin. Part of the problem is that there has been a flood of the drug at very low prices, making it very accessible to wide groups of people. In the 60’s and 70’s, for example, you could buy a “dime bag,” costing $10. Now, you can buy a “dime bag” for $6. The difference in price, although not much, is the difference that has partly caused the epidemic and required thousands of people needing sober living treatment.
One television program told Paul’s story, a social worker who was once a college student trying to score heroin on the Philadelphia streets. Now, he’s searching for heroin users so that he can save their lives. He’s helping others just like him get sober help with treatment and then into a halfway house.
When asked the question, What could someone have done to get you into recovery?, Paul admits, ” At that point there was nothing anyone could do. I wanted to use. I was 19. I wanted to get high. That’s what I wanted to do.”
His answer highlights the dilemma with addiction. Most people just don’t want to stop. The high they’re experiencing feels great. They feel good – for once! – and they don’t have to face the uncomfortable feelings they may be carrying inside. They don’t have to face the challenging demands of life. Heroin is an escape.
Yet, ultimately, the best sober living treatment is facing life as it is, in all its challenges. Although it might be a long road for an individual to eventually get there, there’s no question that men and women – in Ohio and elsewhere – are doing what they can to facilitate healing the epidemic.
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