• 43°

Editorial: Nodding off, checking out

The accused are innocent until proved guilty. That said, the scenario painted by a recent Salisbury Police report shows how reckless and selfish heroin makes people.

After she saw a car parked near a car wash Friday for an extended period of time, a police officer found a young couple passed out in the front seat. A needle was sticking out of the man’s arm. The woman was slumped over behind the wheel, with the car’s engine running. But the two were not alone. A young child was in a car seat behind them, sweating profusely, crying and kicking the back of the front seat. The adults were oblivious.

According to police, the woman later admitted she and her husband had used heroin before nodding off.

Several serious problems are eating away at the foundation of our society, but few kill as many people or wreck as many lives as drug abuse. In recent years, profit-seeking pharmaceutical companies recklessly fueled the overuse and abuse of prescription painkillers. Once addicts found they could no longer afford or obtain those drugs, they turned to heroin. And dealers were happy to supply them.

The results have been disastrous. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, with 47,055 lethal drug overdoses in 2014. Some 18,893 of those overdose deaths were related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 were related to heroin.

Even if users are smart enough not to OD, heroin ruins their lives in other ways, as the couple who nodded off in their car demonstrate. Addicts become obsessed with the drug, ignoring  their other needs and responsibilities. They get criminal records, lose custody of their children, buy drugs instead of food and steal to support their addiction.

What’s to be done? Communities across the country are searching for answers. An Orlando, Fla., task force recently came up with 37 ideas. They include equipping police and deputies with naloxone, a medicine that instantly reverses the potentially fatal effect of heroin; increasing the number of so-called “detox beds” to treat addicts; creating a program for heroin-addicted inmates in the county jail; additional training for medical professionals; and a social-media campaign aimed at discouraging the use of heroin, sometimes viewed as a celebrity drug.

Some celebrity — being found passed out in a car, your child wailing in the back seat. Condemnation is inevitable. Can they count on help beating their addiction as well?

Comments

Local

Dukeville lead testing results trickle in, more participation needed

Education

Faith Academy interviewing staff, preparing site for fall opening

News

Volunteers work around obstacles, alter procedures to offer free tax services to those in need

Education

Education shoutouts

Local

Retired Marine gets recognition for toy collection efforts

Local

March issue of Salisbury the Magazine is now available

Education

Five get Dunbar School Heritage Scholarships

Education

Education briefs: Salisbury Academy fourth-graders think big as inventors

Education

Bakari Sellers keynote speaker at Livingstone College Founder’s Day program

Nation/World

Biden aims to distribute masks to millions in ‘equity’ push

Nation/World

Chief: Capitol Police were warned of violence before riot

Nation/World

GOP rallies solidly against Democrats’ virus relief package

Nation/World

FDA says single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson prevents severe COVID

High School

Coaches, lawmakers react to governor’s order expanding sporting event capacity

Coronavirus

Three new COVID-19 deaths, positives remain below triple digits

BREAKING NEWS

Gov. Cooper announces end to curfew, changes to restrictions affecting bars, high school sports

Crime

Blotter: Two charged after call about package

Crime

Salisbury Police investigating two shootings

Crime

Chase involving Kernersville man ends in woods behind Carson High School

News Main

North Rowan girls end season with playoff loss to Murphy

Education

Rowan-Salisbury EC department plunges in place after raising $1,300 for Special Olympics

Nation/World

Tiger Woods injured in car crash, has surgery on legs

Local

Local stakeholders set goals, direction to tackle city’s housing issues

Education

RSS board talks future of Henderson Independent School