Generation of addicts emerges


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TOO MUCH. Heroin harm reduction kits are put together in Baltimore, MD. Narcan, which is an antidote for overdoses, helps regulate breathing. However, with new drugs like carfentanil laced into heroin, the effectiveness of Narcan is severely diminished.

Heroin has been splayed over headlines in grotesque ways: overdoses, deaths, and infections. However, some of the long term effects go unnoticed.

Heroin overdoses are an immediate and graphic reminder of the epidemic currently raging in the United States. But even those not directly taking heroin are part of the collateral damage.

“Our foster care system is overloaded. For children who deal with parents that are addicted, and sometimes even born with addiction, the heroin problem is a major concern.

“We are creating a generation of kids behind the eight-ball before they are even born,” said Commissioner Dennis Deters.

Babies who are born addicted go through an excruciating withdrawal period, called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

“Addiction can start in the womb, so that is why babies of addicts come out addicted and go through a pretty horrible withdrawal when they are just days old,” said Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco.

The effects of heroin go beyond just overdoses. Children are losing parents, secondary infections are spreading, and resources are draining.

“It is creating a lot of orphans right now. Because their parents are dying off, these kids are left behind. Or they are being neglected and maybe abused, not getting proper care.

“People can’t function like normal adults if they are under the influence,” Sammarco said.