The Local Opioid Epidemic is Real Indeed

Because Indiana was home to the of the largest HIV outbreaks in the nation’s recent history, Southern Indiana got a head-start on the rest of the county to see first-hand the power of the opioid crisis. Within 90 days, a tiny city named Austin, in Scott County about 30 minutes from Louisville, was home to more than 80 positive HIV tests.That was a massive amount of positive results. (Just imagine how many people were positive and didn’t get tested.) As the news about this small city grew and earned itself national media coverage, this was the first time many in the surrounding area began to wonder what happened and what was the cause of it all.

To me, the number one contributing factor was a little piece of legislation that required anyone regularly being prescribed medicine classified as a controlled substance to take regular drug screens. So now medicines like hydrocodone, percocets or even the ADHD drug Adderall, required patients to take drug screens at the doctors office. The knuckleheads in charge genuinely thought this bullshit policy would work. (For what it’s worth, when I heard about this wretched policy my prediction was spot-on.) Our lovely Vice President and generic Ken-doll-slave-owner, genuinely believed in this legislation. It’s also worth pointing out that Pence initially opposed needle exchanges in Indiana even as HIV cases grew more extensive. Even after he was presented with scientific evidence that demonstrated the effectiveness of them he still refused, offering up prayers to help solve the HIV problem, but he ultimately relented in the wake of much criticism. I suppose he saw how badly his power of prayer was doing and decided to take action.

The problem that everyone failed to realize is that drug addicts are just that – addicts. They’re resourceful. And when their drug of choice suddenly became impossible to get their hands on they made due with what they could: heroine.

During the weekend, life politely reminded me how real and unforgiving addiction and more specifically the opioid epidemic has truly become.

I came across a girl I had a crush on years and years ago. She reached out to me on Facebook and we began to talk. She was a gorgeous girl who’d recently graduated, got married and found out she was pregnant when we last last spoke or saw one another. It was here that I learned that she’d been using heroine intravenously for a little more than a year. This may not come as a surprise to you, but that’s because you don’t know her like I did. I couldn’t believe it. I mean this was a girl who didn’t drink very often and occasionally smoked the marijuana. No signs of excess. Hadn’t experimented with psychedelic drugs or pharmaceutical drugs either. She’d never tried cocaine and the list goes on. She was, and still is, absurdly intelligent and witty. And even though the been traveling down a wretched path, she’s still as gorgeous as ever.

But addiction doesn’t discriminate and there she was explaining to me how one thing led to another in the course of less than two years.

She’s trying to improve her life and by the sounds of it I may be one of the few people in her corner. I can’t begin to explain how badly I want her to succeed.

I want her to succeed as badly as I would have wanted her to never begin experimenting in the first place.

I really wish this aspect of life would change soon.