Area’s heroin problem is only growing worse

The heroin problem has been steadily growing throughout our community over the past year or so.

We have seen more and more families affected by loved ones developing addictions, property crimes committed by people trying to feed their habits and tragedies involving death, either from overdose or related incidents. Police officials have been quick to talk about the problem to anybody who is willing to listen, but we have heard from too many people who believe we are sensationalizing the problem, or believe “that happens to other families.”

Guess what? Even if your family is fortunate enough to avoid the pitfalls of heroin addiction, you are still very much at risk. This is a community problem at this point, not one reserved for only a few.

Within the past week, we have seen one man physically take money from the register at Hocker’s and subsequently find himself arrested at his parents’ home with a syringe reportedly on his person. Ocean View police arrested another man after a traffic stop revealed he was carrying heroin. And, in perhaps the saddest example we as a community could imagine, state troopers and medical personnel responded to a Selbyville daycare after a 4-year-old girl was found carrying 249 bags of heroin in a backpack her mother had allegedly given her. The young girl was reportedly handing out the bags to other children in the daycare, believing they were candy.

Any one of those incidents could have very easily turned into something far worse, and people who had nothing to do whatsoever with heroin could have found themselves injured or dead. Do you really think you or your family are immune from the fallout of a community-wide heroin epidemic? This hits all of us.

So, what can we do? Well, we can talk to our kids about it. We can be vigilant and report suspicious activity to law enforcement. We can remove some of the stigmas attached to families who are dealing with addiction so they can reach out for the help they need without fear of being ostracised. This is a “we” problem, and “we” have to control it.