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posted: 1/29/2012 6:22 AM

Heroin's hard lesson for all of us

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Thank you for your series of articles on hidden scourge of heroin and other addictions. As a parent who recently lost a grown child to a heroin overdose, I can attest to the code of silence around these addictions.

As drug counselor Lea Minalga noted in her Hearts of Hope support group, parents are often the last to know their kids have become addicted. Many of their kids' friends see it evolving and say nothing to their parents or siblings. In the case of my son Paul and many others, once heroin enters a young person's life, they will be engaged in a life long battle to escape it and its devastating effects -- even as they continue to crave it.

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Drug addiction leads to a life of deceit and crime which destroys relationships and greatly increases the odds of the addict getting a felony. I think if more young people were aware of this truth, it would be a great deterrent.

While it's hard to convince young people a drug could kill them, it's far easier to convince them that a felony on their record, especially in this digital age, will greatly narrow their economic choices for the rest of their lives. With a felony, jobs will be hard to come by and college may not be of much use.

Life is hard enough and fighting an addiction and facing a life of limited opportunities and the discouragement of joblessness leads to depression that steals energy away from their will to fight their addiction.

There was nothing worse than seeing Paul and his tremendous potential go down the drain. Prevention is far better than dealing with addiction after the fact. There is still hope after addiction but in the case of heroin we learned the hard way ... they don't say goodbye.

Larry Grogan

Glendale Heights

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