Drug Epidemic Near Us?
October 24, 2016
Indiana residents reported higher rates of prescription pain medication misuse than the national averages this past year. It occurred across all age groups with 8.2% of 12-17 year olds, 13.9% of 18-25 year olds, and 4.0% of 26 and older. National rates were 6.5%, 11.9%, and 3.4% respectively. Indiana ranks 19th in the nation for drug overdose deaths. Morgan County is ranked in the top 10% of all Indiana counties with high numbers of prescription drug busts, prescription drug sales, and possession of prescription drugs.
Due to Highway 37 connecting Bloomington to Indianapolis, Martinsville is caught along a drug route. Because Martinsville is also a very high density town with more lower-income citizens, it makes a perfect spot for drugs to infiltrate. But not only in this county is there a drug epidemic, all over the country drugs are becoming more prominent; people are experimenting and overdose and deaths from drugs are increasing.
In 2010, 14% of the 1.9 million who abused or were dependent on pain medications ended up using heroin. It’s worsened from the 5% in 2004, and nearly doubled in the six year gap. Prescription drugs are the most common drug found in Morgan county, and they lead to heavier drugs such as heroin or methamphetamine, which all are increasing in use in the Morgan County area.
On Monday, September 26, Martinsville High School held a convocation in the auditorium addressing the dangers of drug use to students. The convocation consisted of stories explaining how and why three young people had overdosed and died from drugs. The first video shown was of Tara Fitzgerald from Minnesota who had overdosed on synthetic drugs. Fitzgerald died after just one use of what she thought was LSD. Rather than taking LSD, Fitzgerald ingested 25I, a deadly synthetic drug.
The second story was about Sam Motsay, a student who attended Center Grove High School. Motsay also thought he was taking LSD, but instead was taking 25I. He died after just one use. Many MHS students knew Motsay, which helped to hit home with the students.
The third and final story was a special presentation from a mother who had brought her daughter to the stage in an urn. She told the story from a mother’s perspective with gruesome details while struggling to continue on. Her daughter struggled all of her life with substance abuse and died after using meth for the first time. The mother told the touching and horrifying story of how she was found dead in her apartment and the terrible grief she felt after.
At the conclusion, many students had positive responses to the convocation. Each story stayed true to the idea of ending drug use. The convocation title and message, “One Small Dose”, was heard throughout the auditorium. At the end of the each video, a drug use panel (which consisted of Kristi Dunigan, Annette Rohlman, Steve Brock, and Brent Worth) answered question that students may have.
Senior Emma Lindsey said, “I think it was impactful. It really opened my eyes and I hope it opened others’ eyes as well. The concept of using just one time can kill you impacted me.”
Drug use in Martinsville has always existed, but in the past decade, a myriad of drugs have infested the streets of Martinsville and have even found their way into the high school. Drugs such as heroin, prescription drugs, methamphetamine, and marijuana can be found in Morgan County. Throughout the years, the drug trends have changed. In 2013, heroin made itself known in Martinsville and continued to do so on into 2014. Everyday, police officers of Martinsville find drug materials such as needles and baggies of drugs lying in the streets, littered by users to avoid being caught. Some places, such as White Castle, have even established procedures for taking out trash in order to make it safe for their employees to avoid being poked by needles drug abusers have thrown out. In the past several months, animal tranquilizers have been found in use. These tranquilizers are not made for human consumption whatsoever and often times result in death. Because of this, officers are now required to carry at least one antidote to help protect overdose cases.
Although drug use continues to increase in Martinsville, there are steps in place to help stop the growth of our drug epidemic in Morgan County. With prevention tips, such as the simple “say no” campaign taught since elementary school and the idea of avoiding people involved in drugs completely, sobriety can be possible in all cases. However, people are still being sucked into the life of drugs and struggle to get out of the cycle.
The road to recovery is a lifetime challenge, but with many rehab programs offered around the Morgan County area and at the HealthierMorganCounty.org website, it is possible. The drug use panel from the convocation advised the students and staff of MHS, as well as other people around the community to simply get help. Once clean, people must maintain healthy habits as ex-users are prone to relapses. Although there is a drug epidemic in Martinsville, it can be prevented by teaching the youth of the dangers of using drugs. From the dangers of mistakenly ingesting a dangerous synthetic drug, to becoming addicted and overdosing on methamphetamine, the convocation showed that one small dose can kill.