By: Esteban G, Miguel V, Gerardo R
Over the last couple of years there has been a silent assassin coursing through our neighborhoods, heroin. The media has brought it to attention due to the increase of deaths in white neighborhoods, but in reality heroin is also on the rise in communities of color.
The people that are affected most by this drug are whites in suburban middle-class neighborhoods. Many of these users turn to heroin after experimenting with prescription drugs such as painkillers. Hospitals can give drug users free needles in order to combat sharing needles which leads to other diseases but this is problematic. After interviewing Mr. Mendoza, Precalculus teacher, he said that hospitals giving clean needles is ethical to prevent disease but it can give people access to continue their addiction. According to the New York Times, 90 percent of first time heroin users are Whites. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control reported that the rate of overdoses in white communities have risen 267% in the last five years. Matthew Lucero, a senior at APB, said,” I heard that Boston is going to open a program that allows users to come into a room where they can bring their high down”. This can lead to safer drug use, since users will be under supervision, but it still allows them to continue their addiction.
The epidemic has made its way to the color communities, where heroin overdose deaths rates has doubled in the African American, Latino, and Native American communities. The media only focuses on the whites, but in reality this outbreak is affecting everyone. After interviewing Mr. Brown, P.E teacher, he pointed out that drugs have no boundaries with race and ethnicity. Studies have shown that Latinos and blacks come to contact with heroin through someone they know. There has been a 137% increase of Latino users. Latinos and blacks are most likely to get imprisoned for heroin.
Since Mexico produces a large supply of heroin to the U.S, many Presidential candidates have plans to secure our borders better, such as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both believe that addiction to drugs is a disease, so it must be treated. Clinton plans to make new governmental programs that would help users, while Sanders plans to minimize drug sentences, since he believes addiction is a disease not a criminal act.
APB students should be aware of this epidemic in order to help fight the spread. Just saying no can help stopping the spread. Even though many students here are not affected by this it is important to know that not only whites are being affected by this outbreak.