This is an exceptionally powerful documentary. It runs 43 minutes and although set in the United Kingdom, it is well worth your time. The video does contain some vulgar language and is graphic in several instances. However, the reality of heroin addiction is grave. Please watch.
Here are some relevant sites related to addiction and recovery. I don’t personally endorse any rather the intent is merely to provide helpful resources.
On March 7, 2011 Natalie Casanova wrote an article entitled: “Heroin Abuse Plagues Texas Youth” that appeared in the Brookhaven Courier, a student newspaper serving Brookhaven College located in Farmer’s Branch, TX (less than 15 miles from Flower Mound). She noted that sadly “Texas is known for heroin use, especially North Texas….” Further, citing a 2009 Texas Department of State Health Services study that in Dallas and surrounding areas a startling 2,901 people said they used heroin, second only to alcohol use at 3,708. While I was unable to find the report she described, I did stumble upon the TDSHS Substance Abuse Trends report compiled in June 2010. While this is state-wide, it noted the following on pages 6-7 (SA_Trends_June2010).
“The number of teenagers with a primary problem with heroin entering [treatment] increased 61 percent between 2005-2009, while the numbers in their twenties increased 71 percent, those in their thirties increased 52 percent…” (6-7).
Casanova’s article is significant, for she perceived the significance of the problem prior to any significant news attention. The reality is that heroin is plaguing North Texas, as Casanova points out.
Monetarily, the report indicates the street value of black tar heroin as follows:
This is relevant because 12 defendants in the Flower Mound report that recently captured our attention were charged with “conspiracy to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin in the Flower Mound area” (DMN, Wendy Hundley). Since DFW has relative access, if we gauged the numbers on the low side ($80/gram) essentially these defendants have been charged with conspiracy to distribute $8,000 worth of heroin or more.
This brings up the most important point for our community. These individuals, most of whom are teens and early twenty somethings, are merely symptoms of the problem (and of course are struggling with their own chemical dependency issues). The logical and necessary point to keep in mind is that these individuals have been charged with conspiracy to distribute . . . meaning there are ample individuals to purchase this drug. How many teens and young adults in the Flower Mound area are seeking these drugs? Certainly, a number larger than 13. Flower Mound’s two major high-schools have approximately 6,055 students. That represents a large number of students and families that need to be informed on the issues.
A brief snapshot of what we gather so far:
This presentation is not meant to be alarmist. The problem is apparent. Perhaps the Flower Mound situation does not yet parallel what Rolling Stone called the Texas Heroin Massacre in 1999 referring to Plano, but it does seem eerily similar, yet we are thankfully not tallying the same death toll that Plano experienced. But, it should be remembered the 19 who died in Plano occurred over a 3-year period.
For this reason, we must seek to be informed and inform others.
There are many reasons that heroin use occurs. However, in light of Plano in the mid-1990’s and now the problems plaguing Flower Mound and surrounding suburbs, there is a trend. Why are heroin epidemics occurring in affluent, suburban communities?
1. ACCESSIBILITY: The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is located in the midst of a major drug traffic corridor (I-35). Drugs flow from Mexico through Texas and up I-35 into North America.
2. EXPENDABLE INCOME: Teens in affluent suburbs often have access to expendable income that may be spent without a great deal of regard for what it purchased.
3. FREE TIME: Many teens in suburban communities have a great deal of free time. This provides ample opportunity for socializing, which can turn into free time to use chemicals.
4. TEEN NAIVETE: Most suburban teens have not witnessed the horrors of chemical dependency. Living in a community that appears insulated from life’s woes often leads to a perspective on drug use that is constructed by social media (music, movies, etc.) rather than the realities of poverty, mental illness, abuse, and legal consequences.
5. ADULT DENIAL: Perhaps the reason many successful individuals choose to raise their children in the suburbs is in order to provide a certain standard of living as well as protection for their family from certain negative social plagues like drug use. However, this often leads to a sense of false security that either (a) “that could never happen here” or (b) “my son or daughter would never use heroin.” Both assumptions, regardless of socio-economic status or geography are patently false.