Stranded students rescued by Brown County cooperation 4-H Teen Ambassador Dunning attends SHOT Show Veterans Service Commission invites veterans to seek help with benefits Unemployment rate rises in Brown County Pick a Lollipop, help a dog A season to remember G-Men hit the field for first baseball scrimmage Eastern’s Rigdon, Purdy earn AP SE District Div. III honors New blocking, kicking rules address risk minimization in high school football Judy A Schneider James M Darnell Lawanda R Truesdell Paul E Grisham Arrelous R Rowland Dennis E Stivers David M Daniels Fayetteville man is charged with child porn April 1st Grand Opening for Jacob’s Ladder Resale Boutique in Georgetown Talent Show auditions at Gaslight Theatre Nine indicted by county grand jury Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall visit coming next May to BC Fairgrounds In it to win it! Bronco wrestlers end season on successful note Eastern’s Hopkins finishes 5th in long jump at OATCCC State Indoor Track and Field Meet SBAAC awards academic all-stars, winning teams Marvin D Atkin Beverly S Flatt Jessie M Sanders Leroy Deck Sr Jody A Towler Sherman E Young Kenneth C Burton Varnau’s face second defamation suit Attorney General to visit Georgetown schools Clermont County GOP hosts Wenstrup, DeWine at dinner Fatal car crash in Adams County BC Chamber welcomes new Cricket Wireless store to Mt. Orab Aberdeen Council approves 2017 budget Royce K Zimmerman Lady Warriors advance to Elite 8 SBAAC awards boys basketball all-stars SBAAC girls basketball all-stars take home awards SHAC Winter Sports Awards Banquet set for March 12 Altman claims 170-pound district title Sirkka L Buller Arthur C Schneider Lowell G Neal Virginia M Schirmer Connie S Darling Harold L Purdin Terry E Frye Lucille Schumacher Lady Warriors roll to district finals Broncos take care of business to claim sectional crown G-Men upset MVCA to earn berth sectional finals WBHS JROTC Rifle Team competes at Camp Perry Lady Rockets finish 12-12 Season reaches end for Rockets Eugene D Ring Two indicted on major drug charges Two charged with home invasion Cincinnati airport expanding services, lowering prices in effort to compete Two sentenced in common pleas court Georgetown man hurt in car crash Robert G Miller Linda M Howland Robert E McKinney Mildred J Hodges Farrel L Amiott Patricia Brown Rick L Dye Mary E Nagel Betty Ratliff Broncos claim SBAAC wrestling title Broncos pull ahead for win over G-Men in SBAAC Tourney Ripley boys wrap up regular season with win at Lynchburg Eastern girls are sectional champs Anderson pleads not guilty to battery charge Some county offices to change locations Fayetteville prepares for Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall HealthSource hosts Chamber of Commerce meeting Five sentenced in Brown County Common Pleas Court June Howser Marguerite A Fender Timothy D Harris Jay R Purdy Robin S Godwin Marc A Wachter Chester W Eyre Warriors blast past the G-Men, 61-40 Rockets performing well heading into post-season tournament play Lady Warriors bring home the Gold with perfect 13-0 finish in SHAC Western Brown Junior High wrestling team wraps up successful season Rockets fall victim to ‘Pack’ attack Broncos suffer heartbreaking loss to Mentor Lake Catholic in state quarterfinals Adult Education Center coming to county ‘Senior Playground’ moving forward at Georgetown park Brown County 4-H kicks off another year Eastern Middle School celebrates “Kindness Week” Billie L Shoemaker

The struggles of addiction

Addiction can take hold of anyone – it is something from which no person seems to be immune, regardless of economic or social status. It sends the best of people into their deepest nightmares. It is an evil that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go.

It is no shock to anyone these days that Southern Ohio is facing a terrible heroin crisis. Weekly indictments handed down by the Grand Jury for trafficking heroin, theft, burglary, and manufacturing methamphetamine dominate the headlines in the newspaper weekly.

When you enter the depths and pits of addiction’s despair, it takes a hold of you and at times, won’t let go until a person has nothing left. Fortunately, for Allen, who asked to not have his last name revealed, he is well on his way to recovery for heroin use.

“It’s not much of a choice anymore, he said. “My life revolves around staying well.”

The now 24-year-old Allen lives in Dayton and continues to struggle with keeping “well” every day, as he describes it. He said he comes from an average background, his step-father is a preacher and factory worker and his mother is a homemaker. Like many who get into heroin use, Allen moved from opiate painkillers to heroin when he discovered it was cheaper and got him the high he was looking for.

“I had used prescription opiates in the past and loved the way they made me feel,” Allen said. “Just that warm fuzzy feeling. Like being hugged on your insides. I didn’t feel lost anymore. And heroin happens to be way cheaper and easier to obtain so it’s almost an inevitable set if you continue to follow that path.”

His use of opiates wasn’t a result of trying to escape a problem or dealing with depression, but rather a medical issue from an injury. Allen had suffered a torn rotator cuff. Allen had surgery and was given opiates for the pain.

“The prescription opiates started after I had a surgery on my shoulder,” he continued. “A friend saw how many pain pills I was about to snort and said, “Dude, how about you just snort this little line of dope, it will actually work better.’”

Allen said it was an out of this world experience. Something you cannot describe with words, but only with experience.

“It was better than anything I had ever felt in my life,” he said.

But the high did not last as long as he thought it could. Eventually he saw the problem he was having and decided to make a change.

“I just saw all the money I was spending and working two jobs without a dollar in my pocket,” he said. “It’s a sad life. Eventually you have to make a change.”

Allen said lots of things made him feel like he could not stop and it continues to be a struggle.

“The withdrawal symptoms. The violent shakes, the vomiting and runs. All you want is just for them to stop,” he said. “Even if you make it past all of that, when this is all you’ve done for years it’s hard to step out of the cycle when you know all it takes is one phone call to feel happy about life again.”

But getting past the withdrawal challenged Allen to see how strong he was. He decided to go stay with his grandparents and locked himself in a room for his vacation.

“I used my vacation time at work and just spent seven days puking and (expletive) all over myself and taking 28 showers a day while they were at work,” he said. “Day 3 is by far the worst.”

Even after the week was up, Allen said things weren’t easy and it remained a struggle.

“ You feel weak and lost,” he said, “not at all ready to take on the world. But most of the symptoms are gone at that point. You still can’t eat or sleep well. It was about a month before I would say I was ‘normal.’”

Allen’s story is not uncommon in Ohio. The drug knows no difference between people and status. Sitting at the Milford Skyline, Jackie, 23, eats a three-way chili while answering questions about drug use. Jackie has been using opiates since college but got her start on speed.

“In college you are cramming for exams and needing just a boost to stay awake,” she said. “They are passing out ADHD medicine like it is candy, it was so easy to get.”

Jackie began using Adderall, an amphetamine upper with similar effects to that of methamphetamine. Her use of amphetamines led to sleeping problems and needing to ‘come down’ from the high. She began using prescription opiates.

“I couldn’t sleep, I would stay up for three or four days at a time before I would crash,” she said.

She said the sleeping problems and personal problems led to her use of opiates, eventually landing her behind bars for possession of a controlled substance. She went into rehab, but didn’t want to get clean.

“I had the choice between jail or rehab,” she said. “I knew I didn’t want to go to jail, so I went to rehab.”

When she got out, she returned to using – this time, getting into intravenous drug use. She started doing what is known as a “speedball,”’ a mix of heroin and methamphetamine to experience a high.

“It is something you cannot describe, it is out of this world,” she said. “It is like the best feeling you have ever felt. You are warm, fuzzy, excited relaxed – everything all at once.”

She described herself as a “highly-functional user” but said she didn’t think she was an addict. She said she doesn’t tell friends of her intravenous drug use for fear they will judge her, but says she has no plans to stop using when she needs to.

“As long as I can remain functioning, who cares?” she said. “We’re all going to die someday, right?”

Drug abuse is a problem most residents see, but do not know how to fix. Rampant use has an impact on the lives of the user, family, and taxpayer in the county. Users overload a system that is strapped for resources. The county has more cases than it knows what to do with and it eats away at various county wide resources from the court, child and family services, jail, juveniles, and the school system. No one department is equipped to handle the multitude of problems facing Brown County in the very near future. The problem is real, but the solutions are still a mystery.

Heroin can be used in a number of ways. This photo shows converting heroin tar into “Monkey Water” for administration through the nasal cavities, rectum, or veins.
http://newsdemocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_800px-Heroin1.jpgHeroin can be used in a number of ways. This photo shows converting heroin tar into “Monkey Water” for administration through the nasal cavities, rectum, or veins.
A look into the lives users and their struggles

By Brian Durham

bdurham@civitasmedia.com

Reach Brian Durham at 937-378-6161 or on Twitter @brianD1738.

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2016 News Democrat