Heroin’s No Heroine

A brownish-white powder that looks more like my whole wheat flour than like a silent killer is crossing the ocean and making its way into the hands of our friends, our parents, our sisters, our neighbors, our children…

Drug addicts aren’t the underbelly of society we all imagine, found in low-income neighborhoods and on the other side of town.

They’re celebrities – Coco Chanel, Jim Morrison, Philip Seymour Hoffman – and they’re artists – Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lucy Grealy.

They’re moms, they’re dads, they’re best friends, and roommates.

They’re you.

They’re me.

Heroin takes your regular self and transforms you into a dark, sad, up-and-down person you won’t recognize – the kind that on a bad day might steal from your mom but on a good day can hide their addition from even the closest friends.

Here are the facts: In 2013 alone, Massachusetts lost 978 individuals to opioids like heroin. In 2015, there have been well over 200 suspected heroin deaths—and that doesn’t even count Boston, Worcester, and Springfield.

Prescriptions drugs are hard to get and too expensive, so people need an alternative (cheaper) high. Then, they purchase dangerous heroin mixtures without knowing what’s within the powdery grains. These deaths aren’t going to stop.

Today, one of the thousands of New Englanders who will succumb to their addiction had a face – a familiar one – reminding me how far heroin’s grasp reaches.

The point is – no matter how far you think you are from something so scary and so permanent, heroin’s most likely less than a block or two away.

It’s not glamorous, it’s not cool, and it won’t take away whatever pain you’re trying to dull – it’s not worth it.