Editorial: Darien addresses rising heroin epidemic

Officials in Darien and the Depot partnered to talk to parents about the rising heroin and narcotic epidemic in town. Depot program director Janice Marzano, who always seems to have her finger on the community youth’s pulse, said the problem begins in middle school.

Students are prescribed Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit disorders. They share these pills along with the prescriptions they are provided to ‘come down’ from the affects of Adderall, such as Xanax. As pharmacies get tougher on prescription drug distribution, those addicted to the highs need to seek them elsewhere.

Parenting is not easy. And no one ever wants to believe their child is abusing substances of any kind. But blindness in this case can cost more than ignorance — it can cost lives. Marzano said she could think of at least six recent deaths of young people related to drug abuse. A quick internet search can reveal multiple heroin overdoses nation-wide — parents writing heart-felt obituaries outlining their struggle in the hopes that it will save another person’s child. And it isn’t just kids.

WhiteHouse.gov lists Connecticut as one of the top ten states for drug dependence among young adults from 18-25. The same report shows heroin by far at the top of the state’s drug treatment episodes — over 8,000.

No parent is omniscient. None of us can know everything. But asking questions and accounting for any kind of drug we put in our child’s possession is part of parental responsibility. Many of us don’t realize that these risky behaviors can begin in middle school — but drugs are not the only problem. Middle schoolers today are often just as likely to be caught sexting as are high school students.

All of these risky behaviors are tied together, but the heroin and drug problem can lead to exponentially bigger community problems. Knowledge of a fertile market can bring more drug dealers into town. More drug trade can bring in more drug customers and create more frequent drug dealing in town. Those desperate for a fix need money fast — thus causing more theft, petty or otherwise.

No one wants to believe that their child is using drugs. But everyone can’t be right that it is not their child. Ask questions. Violate privacy. Look at phones. Note changing behavior. This can alert us to a variety of problems, not just drug use.

Don’t be a friend now, because you want to be a parent for the rest of your life.