Sometimes it’s easier for me to jump ahead in order to gather my thoughts prior to going back. Thus, I felt it appropriate to brainstorm aloud, everything I never wanted to know, yet now must, about heroin and heroin addiction. I will go strictly by my scattered memory of all I’ve read and researched over the past few weeks since my son entered rehab. I’ll say the terms, thoughts, feelings, statistics as best I can recall them in order to find a starting point for what will surely be a journey into the unknown. Here goes. There are alarming statistics concerning heroin addiction. It’s currently an epidemic in the United States with approximately 591,000 people addicted to heroin in 2015. Many people become addicted after being prescribed pain medication by a doctor. Once addicted to pain medication and the prescription runs out, thus enters heroin – the “cheaper alternative.” Cheaper, but FAR MORE COSTLY! Upper middle class people are now the ones becoming addicted. People from “normal” families. “Successful” people. Unlikely people. People from loving families. People with a “good head on their shoulders:” my son. You can snort heroin, you can smoke it, you can inject it. Once you try it you can instantly become addicted because it increases the dopamine levels in your brain, that which causes the sensation of pleasure, by something like 2000 percent. Coming down from that sensation leaves you unable to experience pleasure the same anymore. You want more and more and more and will do anything to get your next fix. You lie. You cheat. You steal. You live for it and are willing to die for it. You turn your back on your friends and family. You neglect your children. You walk away from your children. Hygiene is a thing of the past. You choose the drug over food. You live under the shadow of guilt, deceit and denial. Deaths caused by drug overdose have surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Wow! Codependent couples are very difficult to convince to get treatment as they must be willing to let go of each other. IV heroin abusers inject multiple sites on their body: arms, legs, hands, neck, between their toes! I’m sure there are others but these are the few I’ve learned of. Admitting you’re powerless over the drug and your life has become unmanageable is the Al-Anon first step to recovery. An addict will always be an addict, although they may no longer be addicted. Heroin addiction affects many, many people in addition to the addict – family, friends, employers, acquaintances, businesses. Heroin is the worst drug imaginable – turning people into shells of who they once were and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Before you enter into a rehab program you must first detox, which should be done and is more safely done in a rehab center under medical supervision and can take 7-10 days. You can be prescribed either methadone or suboxone to lessen the withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can be horrendous: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, extreme fatigue, restlessness, agitation, and others — sounds like a living hell. The incidence of relapse back onto heroin is high. This is not an extensive list of what I’ve learned so far, and I’m sure my facts are not 100 percent accurate, but as close to accurate as I can recall. Simply writing about it has made me exhausted. Tomorrow’s a new day and will be the story of how rehab came to be. Until then, I’ll continue to pray for my son, whom I love with all my heart. I truly believe we can never underestimate the power of prayer, and that God can deliver my son from this addiction.