Addiction is a disease that impacts so many people across the U.S. From the addicts themselves to the people around them, addiction hurts everyone, and local communities and nonprofit groups are working to help the addicts in their midst. In particular, groups are working toward reducing the epidemic of heroin addiction taking root around the country.
The Heroin Epidemic
The popularity of various drugs tends to rise and fall, but one of the most addictive and most dangerous drugs is at its peak. Heroin use has reached epidemic proportions across the country. This drug, once largely confined to inner-city areas, has spread throughout the suburbs and the rural countryside. Thanks to the tighter restrictions placed on prescription narcotics, many addicts have turned to the similar high that can be found in cheaper, more available heroin. According to the federal government, the number of new heroin users every year has more than doubled over the last decade.
Political Action Against Addiction
Some community activists are battling heroin addiction by turning to politics and policies. One of the biggest dangers of heroin use is the possibility of overdose. Especially for those users who have come to heroin after using prescription pills to get high, accidental overdoses are not uncommon. Nonprofit groups in many states are putting together actions to increase awareness among legislators and to set bills in motion that will save lives. Many of these policies include making Narcan (Naloxone), an overdose antidote, more available to first responders, community workers and nonprofits working with addicts.
Community Events Fight Back
Communities that have seen too much damage from addiction and heroin overdoses are taking action by organizing events to bring awareness to the issue and raise money for nonprofits working with addicts. First responders, including firefighters and police officers, often see the results of heroin addiction first hand. In many communities, they are bringing awareness to the issue by holding events such as prevention awareness days and 5K runs to raise money. Other local groups are holding rallies to make sure that everyone in the community knows what the stakes are.
Nonprofits Target Addiction
In fighting addiction, nonprofit groups play an important role. Not only do they help raise awareness and money, they often work directly with addicts seeking treatment. In fact, the majority of treatment programs for heroin addicts are nonprofits. With the number of users and addicts constantly rising, the pressure is on for these organizations to keep up. Many are funded by government grants, which have been shrinking in size as the problem of addiction grows. Many hope that the expansion of healthcare coverage, and the improved coverage for addiction and mental health provided by the Affordable Care Act, will help more addicts get care.