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Editorial: Fighting back against drug misuse

Over the past week, The Recorder has run a series of stories about the current surge of heroin use in Franklin County.

Our first series of this epidemic of opioid misuse and addiction, ran last year and focused on the arrival on the illegal drug scene in our area, the Northeast and, in fact, the entire country of relatively inexpensive heroin and its connection to illegal prescription painkillers.

This second series, also written by staff writer Chris Curtis, concentrated instead on what community members, families and addicts can do to “push back” against this scourge.

It chronicled families and individuals devastated by prescription opioids and heroin, and what they, and you, can and did do to resist the drugs and to try to undo the damage they perpetrate.

During the course of the series, it became clear that although there has been a strong, laudable reaction to the dangers of these chemicals, there is much to do.

Individuals in this area who have reached that point in their lives where they suddenly realize the extent of their problem and the damage it has done, have very limited options available to them for treatment.

Detox facilities are limited, residential treatment beds are almost nonexistent, too many health insurance plans pay only minimally and shelter care homes where recovering addicts can stay while trying to form normal relationships and work while avoiding their former drug-using circle of acquaintances are scarce.

All of these issues, in addition to strenuous efforts to educate the population about the dangers of chronic drug use, must be addressed as quickly as possible.

That takes money and coordination, and the series also highlighted those groups that are working furiously to get a handle on the situation before it gets out of control.

We need only look to the West and Southwest, and the incredible spread of illegal methamphetamines, to see how bad things can get if we don’t act quickly. And the almost daily recital of drug overdoses in the pages of The Recorder over the past few months is a good indication of how close we’re coming to that.

If you haven’t read the series, please take the time to look it up at: www.recorder.com/news/specialseries/pushingback

Inform yourself, participate in some way if you can, and keep abreast of the rapidly changing situation by reading The Recorder.

Don’t let the opioid scourge ruin you or a loved one’s life.

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