I guess the allure of opiods must be incredibly powerful, even for those who have committed to helping others overcome the addiction.
Such is the case of two counselors at a halfway house for recovering addicts in Chester County, a suburb of Philadelphia. The two died this past Sunday of drug overdoses. Police found used needles and heroin baggies near the bodies in the bedrooms. Both people tested positive for heroin and fentanyl, according to preliminary toxicology tests. One counselor was 33, the other was found dead on what would have been his 25th birthday.
“If anybody is wondering how bad the opioid epidemic has become, this case is a frightening example,” Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said in a statement. “The staff members in charge of supervising recovering addicts succumbed to their own addiction and died of opioid overdoses.”
Sadly, these overdoses aren’t the first reported deaths of drug counselors trying to help others beat their addiction. Just last week, an advocate for safe injection sites for heroin addicts in Philadelphia and the co-founder of a Bucks County (another Philadelphia suburb) drug treatment program both died from overdoses.
I can’t imagine being addicted to something so badly that even when you think you have beaten it, and are helping others to do the same, there is still the possibility of being drawn back in. And I am sure these counselors all knew the dangers associated with opioid use, yet they still opted to take the drug.
One other item I hd trouble relating to is an editor’s note at the end of the story:
An earlier version of this story identified the baggies of heroin found near the bodies by symbols on the bags. At the request of Drug Enforcement Administration officials, who say addicts will actively seek out heroin that’s reportedly killed others, the photos and identifications have been removed.
Addicts will actively seek out heroin that’s reportedly killed others? I’m not sure if this is because of the allure of a potentially incredible high, or a sign that the addict has given up on life.
I am not sure what the answer might be to the opioid epidemic, but I would think that some combination of providing both education and hope to those most susceptible could do wonders.
There also seems to be a need for a strong support system that includes not only former addicts, but also people who have not suffered from a drug addiction. With such a system, counselors would then have someone to turn to in their moment of need, and perhaps we could avoid the deaths noted above.