May 5, 2015

Four Perspectives On The Local Heroin Epidemic

Heroin addiction has exploded in the D.C. region, partly do to an increase in painkiller prescriptions, which hook patients in at an early age. Before Kojo explores the local epidemic Tuesday, May 5, here’s a preview of our four guests and their thoughts on the issue:

“…This scourge has spread because so many people before them have kept quiet, allowing the rest of us to imagine that the problem really isn’t as bad as it has become. …the way to attack a drug that turns every addict into a silo, a loner wrapped in a cocoon – is through community”

-Sam Quinones | Journalist; Author, “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” from his blog

“The medical community has certainly contributed to the problem… Many physicians’ knowledge of addiction is very limited.”

-Dr. Husam Alathari | Medical Director, INOVA Comprehensive Addiction Treatment Services; Medical Director, Fairfax Methadone Treatment Center; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, George Washington University Medical Center quoted in the Fairfax Times.

“If you went to the local shopping center and asked 10 people ‘What’s the difference between an opioid and a trapezoid?’ few of them could answer that question. … Heroin is the great big boogeyman. It scares the willies out of people that live in the suburbs.”

-Don Flattery | Citizen Advocate; Member, Virginia Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse quoted in The Washington Post

“We give material to parents to talk to their physicians a little more about the medications their kids are prescribed. It’s not uncommon for people to not know how addictive these substances can be. The volume you get is often more than you need. Parents need to ask questions like: Do they really need this? And what do I do if we don’t need all of it?”

-Whitney Strand | Program Director, Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County to WAMU.

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