According to law enforcement officials, the suburbs of Chicago have been affected by an increasing number of heroin-related deaths. Statistics have revealed that in Will County the number of cases reported for heroin overdose have gone up from five in the last four years to about 70 in the past two years. This is primarily because of the ease of availability and easy distribution of heroin in the suburbs. As per the officials, this easy accessibility is mostly through the ‘heroin highways’ i.e. interstates 88 and 290. Though most of the distribution takes place on the West side, the consumption is highest in the suburbs.
Another major alarming fact was that heroin is now a much more common drug at teenage parties, and it is being encouraged to be used by injecting in the blood stream rather than just sniffing or smoking.
Harmful Effects Of Heroin
Heroin is a type of pain relieving drug, and comes from the opium poppy, which is a flower that grows in Asia, South America and Mexico. It is highly addictive and most of the users find it extremely difficult to stop using heroin even if they have used it just once.
Consumption of heroin causes the nervous system to slow down. It causes respiratory problems, lowers heart rate and reduces blood pressure. Frequent and long term use of heroin can also lead to heart and lung failure. Moreover, use of heroin harms the immune system of the body and makes the addict more prone to diseases like pneumonia, typhoid and other liver diseases. Thus, the body becomes vulnerable to all kinds of ailments.
One of the biggest disadvantages of using heroin is that a person's body develops a tolerance towards it. This implies that as the body becomes used to the presence of heroin, it demands more and more of it in order to produce the same amount of ‘high’. Thus, a higher dosage of heroin is required every time to get the same feeling that the addict got the last time. This makes a person dependent on heroin, and it becomes an essential chemical the body needs to function. As a result, even though heroin adversely affects everyone who uses it, it becomes a requirement for normal function.
In addition to the above mentioned effects, if a heroin addict suddenly tries to stop using it, he or she also suffers from withdrawal symptoms like restlessness, panic, lack of sleep, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, diarrhea and dehydration.
Steps Taken By Officials And Recommendations
In order to curb the use of heroin in the Chicago suburbs, suburban officials have been scheduling assemblies in some of the major high schools of the area in order to increase the awareness about the harmful effects of heroin usage. A lot of effort is being made to educate the parents about the unknown threats of heroin, so that they can pass the information to their children and counsel them against its use at an early age. The earlier the problem is detected, the easier it is to cure it.
A number of times the parents of addicted children do not reveal the addiction primarily due to fear of being harassed by officials. Many feel legislation needs to be made friendlier towards addicts and their families, that there is a need to increase the communication among law enforcement representatives from around the region and to send blunt messages to drug dealers. Whatever the solution, it needs to be introduced as quickly as possible so less people's lives are affected.
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