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The stories are heart wrenching and they all have a common theme: a young person who has lost to heroin. State officials say there has been a dramatic increase in the number of arrests for heroin and a dramatic decrease in the average age of an addict.
They blame a deadly combination of low cost (around $4 a bag) and high purity (80-90%, which means it's easy to ingest and highly addictive). The most recent data available shows that 544 people died of heroin or opiate use in 2005. The increase in heroin use and the alarming number of overdoses has led Massachusetts health officials to launch a program to try to save addicts by distributing the medication Narcan, which can save someone who has overdosed.
Why are heroin addicts getting younger? Why is the drug so cheap? What can be done to stop what one doctor calls, "a silent epidemic?"
Massachusetts resources featured on the show:
Learn to Cope - "Learn To Cope has been formed by parents, for parents, with the sole purpose of "being there" for each other. We are all in this together and although there are no solid answers, there is a safe, confidential and supportive place for you to share your feelings and concerns."
CASPAR (Cambridge and Somerville Program for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Rehabilitation) - "CASPAR Inc is a community-based non profit organization founded in 1970 to provide comprehensive prevention, intervention, and treatment to individuals of all ages whose lives are affected by substance use disorders and instill hope that recovery and an end to homelessness are not only possible but attainable."
Right Turn - "Right Turn is a non-profit organization founded in March of 2003 by Addictions Specialist Woody Giessmann with a vision of providing innovative programming, individual support, rehabilitation services and ongoing encouragement to New England artists and entertainers (and their families) who've been affected by alcoholism, addiction, and psychiatric issues."
Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Substance Abuse Services - Regional resources, helpline information, prevention programs.
This program aired on March 21, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.
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