Editorial: Heroin use on the rise in Hastings and in the countryHastings has a problem with heroin use among teenagers. Let’s get that out there.
Hastings has a problem with heroin use among teenagers.
Let’s get that out there.
Second, we aren’t the only community in the state struggling with this. Nor are we the only community in the nation struggling with this.
A county sheriff in suburban Chicago is imploring parents to attend a presentation later this month. He has seen a substantial increase in heroin use.
In New Mexico, there is an awful problem with teens. An estimated $300,000 worth of heroin is being sold every day in Albuquerque.
In Missouri, the number of deaths has spiked. In 2007, 69 people died in Missouri because of a heroin overdose. In 2009, there were 167 deaths. In 2010, there were 190.
Seeing a trend here?
It is a nationwide problem, and as recent events show, we are no different here in Hastings.
So what do we do next? First, conversations must continue. This problem won’t get any better if we don’t first acknowledge it.
Second, we all need to become more familiar with this drug. In addition to a number of signs generally related to drug use (including small pupils, sudden changes in behavior and disorientation) there are some signs more unique to heroin. They include: burned silver spoons, aluminum foil or gum wrappers with burn marks, missing shoelaces (used as a tie off for injection sites), straws with burn marks and needles or syringes. The drug is cheap and readily available with a 25-minute trip into the Twin Cities.
Third, the moves made by the Hastings Police Department send the right signal. Within two weeks of our tragedy here, they have arrested two people they say were involved in the case. They are devoting more investigative time to solving cases like this one, and it is our hope that those involved in the heroin trade here will see this activity and will be deterred, at least in a small way, by this increased presence.
Let’s begin taking the steps to fix this problem.