The opioid epidemic tightens its grip on America

It’s the kind of thing that happens in someone else’s city, someone else’s town, someone else’s back yard.

It could never happen here, on the charming block of 2300 Palm Beach Ave., where mid-century single-family homes dot each side of a steep street. Where working-class professionals keep their lawns well-trimmed and decorate their porches with American flags and tiny butterfly lawn ornaments.

It certainly is not the kind of thing that happens to an 11-year-old middle-school girl who, by all accounts, seemed happy, outgoing and showed no signs of distress. No one could have predicted that she would overdose on heroin.

Earlier this month, the girl was found at her family home on Palm Beach Avenue just before dinner time, lying unresponsive with stamp bags around her. A family member began performing CPR. By the time the paramedics arrived, she was conscious. She was given Narcan and quickly taken to Children’s Hospital in critical condition, and because she is a minor, no further information has been made available.

Ten days later and 40 miles west of here, in East Liverpool, Ohio, a police officer almost died when he came into contact with the synthetic opioid fentanyl during a routine traffic stop.

Patrolman Chris Green followed protocol when he searched the vehicle, its seats speckled with white powder. He used latex gloves — but he took them off when he frisked the driver.

Back at the police station Green found residue on his uniform and, without thinking, dusted it off with his bare hands.

That mistake caused him to overdose. It took four shots of Narcan to bring him back to life.

These are just two snapshots from the plague of our time — America’s opioid epidemic. The slide into addiction is well documented: Users move from legal pain killers to heroin to fentanyl, as prescriptions dry up and cheap street opioids are replaced with increasingly dangerous drugs.

Read the full piece HERE.

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