Heroin in the Suburbs, the reality is closer to home than we think

“Treatment should be a desire not a forceful means to an end.”
You might think addiction starts and ends in Camden, However Marlton and Moorestown are close in statistical data for opiate users

John Errons didn’t know his daughters night out at the movies with friends was really an excuse to indulge in using heroin until the morning Bethany  died from an overdose in Errors Marlton home. Like many teens Bethany hid it well until the very end, when the Temple University student was found with a needle in her arm in the downstairs quiet basement. 

The 2014 graduate of Eastern High School had it all great looks wonderful parents and a sure fire GPA of 4.12 and part of a prominent sorority. Beloved  for her loyalty and compassionate nature, the beautiful teenager was keeping up her grades and, as far as her parents knew, had recently sought out treatment for a prescription medication addiction related to her struggles with anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“She was never happy in this life,” recalls Errons, president prominent law firm. “Only after she passed away, when we looked back on her Facebook, we saw she had connections barter and trade medications. From time to time, she was contacted to sell her photos (nude) to make money for drugs, and she had pawned her computer.

“Bethany had a disease and, we did not see it,” Errons continues. “It’s something an addict can hide very well. They can look in your face and tell you the oceans flat and you will believe it.”

Once considered a dirty-needle, area far removed from leafy suburban streets, heroin addiction has very quickly come full circle,confronting the state, according to a 2014 report released by the Task Force on Heroin and Other Opiate Use by New Jerseys Youth and Young Adults. This crisis affects countless teens once thought to be very low risk neighborhoods turns into epidemic crisis, notes the report from the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. Most addicts came to their dependency through prescription drugs, sometimes legitimately acquired but also easily obtained on the streets.

As the  force put it, the line between legit medications and street drugs has become blurred; “There is a disturbing new relationship between the Doctor and pharmacy and Needle pushing drug dealer.”

With distinction of being home to potent heroin, South Jersey has been infiltrated. Some 1300 heroin-related overdoses have been logged in Camden City, including 42 fatalities, says Camden County, Louis jr. The death rate far higher; 25 people were revived with the use of Naloxane, an antidote that can reverse an opiate overdose commonly used by many public safety and medical professions.

Further facts that heroin does not discriminate by zip code: Cherry Hill was listed among the top 20 towns with the most documented heroin and opiate abuse earlier this year. The ranking was based on data provided by the New Jersey Department of Human Services.

Beyond lives taken, heroin has led to an increase in crime throughout the region. Not only are the manufacturing, possession and selling of drugs a crime, but usage also causes users to engage in risky and illegal behavior. In order to pay for their habit, heroin users often resort to anything.

Heroin’s spread from slum to suburb involves a few factors, from the increase of prescription painkillers to its low price as oppose to medically prescribed opiates, including OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Vicodin and Lorcet. Another fact that has changed reality is the potency of heroin sold on the streets. The drug is so pure that it can be used in many ways, instead of injected intravenously. In the past, the need to shoot up into the veins was a deterrent that would turn off most recreational drug users from even trying heroin, according to experts. Today its a recreation at first almost gemlike that turns into a tragedy with the ending that resembles that of a nightmare as oppose to just a bad movie.

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