Sunday, March 12, 2017

Heather Himes & Heroin

Heather died in the bathroom of her father's farmhouse in Ohio a year ago this month, after injecting herself with an opiod--heroin.  She was 31 years old.

Her older brother Eugene, 37, died of a similar overdose nine months later.

Her last remaining sibling, Roger, 35, has used heroin and meth as well as pain pills but is now clean and sober for two months, living with his father.

Thank you to Jack Healy of the New York Times for this report on opiod use in the rural Midwest.

"Overdoses are churning through agricultural pockets of America like a plow through soil, tearing at rural communities and posing a new threat to the generational ties of families like the Winemillers," Healy writes.

I too have three children in their 30s who have experimented with drugs, one of whom has been clean and sober for almost ten years.  I used to think living in Los Angeles, a mecca for drug users and skewed cultural values, was part of the problem.

Now I realize no part of the country is free of this problem.  No family is too remote to be touched by the drug epidemic.

In Ohio, reports Healy:
 "Drug overdoses here have nearly tripled since 1999, and the state as a whole has been ravaged. In Ohio, 2,106 people died of opioid overdoses in 2014, more than in any other state, according to an analysis of the most recent federal data by the Kaiser Family Foundation."

We need health insurance that covers rehab and support services after rehab, but instead we havea new health care proposal from the Republicans that will reduce mental health care.

When the Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost of reducing health care and knocking 24 million people off insurance, it's not counting the cost in human lives lost by reduced opportunities for health care.

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