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Abuse of heroin on the rise

February 27, 2011
By CATHY BROWNFIELD, Family Recovery Center

Regional newspapers and broadcast media are, and have been, reporting it: Heroin abuse is on the rise in the area, including Columbiana County. By comparison it is cheaper and easy to get. Heroin abuse destroys families. And it is deadly at its worst.

News reports say more children are being taken into protective services because their heroin-addicted parents are unable to take care of them. It's not that their parents don't care about them. The problem is the addiction, and the sickness that occurs during withdrawal that drives them to using again to make it all go away, and the focus on getting more of the substance that will relieve them of withdrawal symptoms.

A recent article in the Canton Repository reported, "Heroin users not only shoot up to get 'high,' but they also shoot up to feel better from the drug's effects or withdrawal."

Doug Wenz, community services director of the Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic told WKBN-TV27 News, "Heroin has made a comeback."

Who is using heroin? Younger people ages 18-25, white, college-educated, small-town.

Heroin, according to NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) is an opiate drug derived from morphine, which comes from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin usually is white or brown powder or a black sticky substance known as 'black tar heroin.'

The Prescription Drug/Opioid Abuse Survey released last November advises that from 2005-2008, Vicodan, Percocet and Oxycontin continued to be the most commonly abused pharmaceutical opioids.

"A report from the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network covering the period from June 2007 to January 2008 found increasing amounts of 'black tar' heroine use in several reporting areas and a higher rate of treatment admissions among young whites, as well as among young adults in suburban communities," reports Join Together ( "A

Spokeswoman for the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS) said many young people are turning to heroin after not finding a sufficient opiate effect from prescription pain medication."

Thus, the pharmaceuticals have been labeled "the gateway to heroin."

Heroin can be injected, snorted/sniffed, or smoked, any of which rapidly sends the drug to the brain, leading to addiction and other health problems. In the brain, heroin is changed to morphine which affects automatic processes critical for life: breathing, blood pressure and arousal. In heroin overdoses, respiration is suppressedthey stop breathing.

As tolerance develops, response to the drug decreases and more is needed to achieve the same intensity of effect that the user is looking for. Heroin is cheaper than Oxycontin and easier to get, making addiction an even bigger problem.

The Prescription Drug/Opioid Abuse Survey says, "Theclients accessing services across Ohio with an opioid abuse/dependence diagnosis has dramatically increased over the past 12 months (as of November 2010's report). The state's methadone programs report, on average, 343 referrals over that period.

"The state's current treatment system is challenged in addressing the needs of Ohio's rapidly increasing number of opioid abusing/dependent clients

"Almost one-third of all providers reported that opioid abusing/dependent clients now make up more than a quarter of all clients served. The proportion of clients accessing services across the state with an opioid abuse/dependence diagnosis has dramatically increased over the past 12 months," the survey and report advise.

Is the problem in Columbiana County? Yes, according to the Columbiana County Drug Task Force.

Eloise Traina, Director of Family Recovery Center, reports that at least 60 percent of individuals reaching out for services at the Center are opioid dependent. "Based, on this one statistic alone, there are many others who are suffering from a family member's dependence on either prescribed medications or the illegal use of an opiate. Dependence and/or addiction is a family disease."

Education and prevention are a priority because not having such a problem is much better.

But when the problem exists, the earliest possible treatment is desired. Family Recovery Center offers education, prevention and treatment programs for individuals with substance addictions, their families and communities.

For more information, contact us at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail,



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