Hot Topic #13: The Heroin Epidemic


Image Credit:

This was a tough one to write about. It took a long time, I’m talking a couple of months, to get these words together.

Full disclosure: I cannot speak from experience here. I have never done any type of drug. I have not been directly affected by heroin addiction, in terms of my family or my friends.

However, my heart goes out to everyone who have been affected.

The main origin for this post started with a tragedy: One of my friends lost her sister to a heroin and cocaine overdose in 2015. Through her grief, she started a blog, called An Addict’s Sister. Her words have made me laugh, and they have made me cry. I look forward to every post, and I read every word. I never met her sister, but I feel like I’ve been introduced to her through these words.

I’ve said before that writing is one of my therapies. In this case, I truly believe this is helping her with the loss of her sister, and it has helped me learn about her, her sister, and learn a little bit about how destructive heroin can be.

Then, in early February, I found this piece on

I read this on my lunch hour at work, and I immediately wanted to dive into researching. It appeared that this new and different approach was becoming a success for this little town called Laconia – I wanted to see what else was being done.

I got my wish five days later – One of my local TV stations had this piece on their website:

This was fascinating to me. I’m a huge fan of Forensic Files. The show has profiled several cases where hair and fingernail testing was conducted to look for the presence of arsenic, or ethylene glycol, the main ingredient in antifreeze. But, this is the first time that I have heard of fingernail testing for drugs, particularly in Virginia. The best part, as they mention in the piece, is this kind of testing is a lot cheaper. I look forward to hearing more about this down the road.

Then, at the end of February, that same station reported something exciting:

I was thrilled. So many die of overdoses. Many of them die alone.

I’m happy that my state, and a city a stone’s throw away from me, is jumping on board. This is a good step forward.

The best news – Less than three weeks days after that story aired, this happened:

Success! I’m sure that felt good. And so quickly! It’s nice to see actual good news.

However, the battle is far from over.

In my city alone, Chesapeake, 23 people died from heroin overdoses in 2014. That year, there were 132 deaths in the “seven cities” of Hampton Roads.

  1. Chesapeake
  2. Hampton
  3. Newport News
  4. Norfolk
  5. Portsmouth
  6. Suffolk
  7. Virginia Beach

Personally, as happy as I am with the recent success of the VBPD, I believe in establishing programs like Laconia. I hope that a similar type of program is introduced to every police force, eventually. I realize that this kind of effort will take time, and money.

But, I think it’s worth it, don’t you?

One overdose is too many.

For more information:

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.