Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ohio's Heroin Epidemic

NPR goes to Marion:
Marion, Ohio, just north of Columbus, used to be an idyllic place to grow up.
Kelly Clixby and Beth Carey remember what it was like a generation ago, when they were young.
"I lived across the street from one of the big parks here," Clixby says. "We would rip n' run all day and all night and come in when the street lights were on."
"It was just a nice place to live," Carey says.
Today, Marion is different. It's grappling with a full-blown heroin epidemic, one that derailed Kelly Clixby's life and killed Beth Carey's twin sister.
This week on For The Record: one small town copes with the ravages of addiction.
Deaths from heroin have been skyrocketing over the last few years — among all age groups, across all races and in all regions of the U.S.
According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control, more than 8,000 Americans died of heroin-related overdoses in 2013 — nearly three times as many as died in 2010.
But the risk hasn't dented demand. Heroin is cheap, abundant and accessible, and communities across the nation, from big cities to small rural towns, are struggling with the consequences.
In Marion, Ohio — once a thriving steel town — the trouble arrived around 2007, when the police started seeing balloons of heroin during routine traffic stops.
Since then, heroin has changed many lives in Marion. It took Chrystina Carey's.
One thing that seems to go hand-in-hand with heroin use: a poor job market in a struggling blue-collar town.  It is amazing how quickly oxycontin, meth and heroin have burned over vast regions of the Rust Belt and rural Midwest.  Twenty years ago, people in many of these places would have scoffed at the idea that heroin would take hold in their communities.  Not now.

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