Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Opiate Abuse: Massachusetts Suburbs

I'm taking a break from writing about the Educational Leadership articles to show you a series of newspaper articles from The Enterprise of Brockton, Massachusetts. The TV show Chronicle (of the local ABC affiliate WCVB) aired an episode tonight on the epidemic of oxycontin and heroin addictions (opiate abuse) currently ravaging the suburbs.

This news certainly isn't new. Locally in the north shore of Massachusetts, opiate abuse came to the forefront in the early 2000s as many pharmacies reported thefts of prescription drugs such as oxycontin. Once pills on the street became too expensive, addicts turned to cheaper heroin; a downward spiral ensued. The addiction of high school pitching ace Jeff Allison added media attention to the issue, and the District Attorney of Essex County even created a curriculum for area high schools about oxycontin.

The original articles from The Enterprise appeared a few years ago. The newspaper put them online with additional information about opiate addictions and where to go for help. The newspaper has continually reported on this problem, and below are the links to check out.

There are no easy solutions to opiate addictions, or any addictions ravaging communities. Schools need to teach the consequences associated with drug use and students need to learn the skills to avoid becoming involved with drugs. Families, communities, and individuals all need to take proactive roles in helping prevent this problem from increasing. It is a multifaceted effort! How many lives are too many to lose?

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