By Joseph Engle
In President Obama’s State of the Union address on January 12, 2016, he touched on the epidemic of heroin abuse in our country. As founder and president of, “There is No Hero in Heroin Foundation,” I was impacted by the president’s words.
“When the leader of the free world refers to the heroin issue within the first three paragraphs of his State of the Union address, it is safe to say that we are in the midst of an epidemic that is worthy of our attention and action.
Over 11,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2014, quadrupling since 2010. Our heroin epidemic has exploded, already beating last year’s record, which was the highest until now.
As the political scene heats up, the topic of addiction has been inching up where it has been taking the limelight at political rallies. All the candidates admit its importance and promise to find answers, but no one has yet to come up with concrete answers to solving the problem.
Parents who have expressed their fears in losing their children are looking past the political scene, expressing their beliefs that education in the school arena is the only way to put a halt to future epidemic issues. They want our younger children to be educated before they get hooked.
Since many parents are now addicted to prescription pain pills, their teenagers have become addicted to them by stealing the pills from their parents’ drawers and medicine cabinets. When the teens run into problems in getting those pills, they get them from their friends, or, if they can’t afford them, they are discovering that a tenth of a gram of heroin costs about $10, which is a fraction of the cost of one pill.
“We need straight forward, honest, talks and programs about how to steer youngsters away from quick fixes,” one mother told me. It is obvious to me that we need deliberate, calculated programs withconditions that will give young people better ideas and thoughts about how to deal with everyday life problems. They need people out there who can guide them along a positive road in life.
That’s why we focus on lifting the stigma of drug addiction and raising the consciousness of this disease by finally bringing it out in the open where it belongs. It’s an important beginning since we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge.
As hard as it is to face, the public must see the new picture heroin presents today. It is found in every family arena across the board.
The face of the modern heroin user has no barriers from gender, ethnicity or economic status. Heroin has become the primary drug for many addicts who have come from what society calls, “a good family.”
Those in their twenties make up thirty percent of the patients in many recovery centers. Raised in affluent or reasonably successful families, some of them have also been previously functional members of society.
Although, there are recovery centers for adult addicts struggling to overcome addiction, their lives are still threatened with a tragic end. The success rate for heroin addicts is slim. Many heroin addicts relapse and die from their first dose after several months without heroin. Since their bodies were free of heroin until their relapse, that’s when taking the same amount of heroin that they usually took just didn’t work. Their bodies weren’t able to take the overload. Many died within a few minutes.
At “There is No Hero in Heroin” (TINHIH), we are always looking for answers and further educating the public about the perils of our worst heroin addiction epidemic in history.
Therefore, on Monday, February 15th, we will be presenting our third annual signature event, #BlackMonday2016. TINHIH will present a symposium of musical performances and a speaker panel, including Mayor Pro Tem Steve Ross and Justice Court Judge Sullivan. Raffle items are available as well as dinners provided by Orange Catering (for a donation.)
In our efforts to enlighten and change public perception and policies, TINHIH is also providing a “Recovery Resource Fair” with vital information from twenty-five recovery organizations with professionals and advocates including PACT Coalition, West Care, Solutions Recovery, Salvation Army, ARC, and Foundations for Recovery.
During the evening, there will also be a wall of black, red and white carnations to memorialize heroin addicts who have passed away, as well as honoring addicts in the throes of addiction, and those celebrating their recovery. Since its inception in 2013, TINHIH’s 100 percent volunteer-driven work has also provided scholarships to a sober living environment for one addict every month.
We invite all of you who have addiction issues to attend with your families, loved ones, and friends. Please join us as we open the doors at 5:30 p.m. to our event at the Salvation Army Chapel, located
at 2900 Palomino Lane in Las Vegas.
By Joseph Engle