Our Opinion: HOPE needed to vanquish scourge of heroin

Local reports of heroin overdoses are becoming much too frequent.

Tuesday’s edition included yet another story about an overdose and an arrest related to heroin. In this case, the victim was hospitalized and stabilized.

The episode, ironically, roughly coincided with the News Tribune’s story Monday about the local Heroin Overdose Prevention and Education (HOPE) campaign.

HOPE is a public information and prevention effort aimed at educators, parents and the community at large.

The campaign will draw on the knowledge and experience of law enforcement officers, medical and substance abuse treatment professionals, and families affected by the illegal drug.

The Jefferson City Police Department recently conducted in-service training about heroin, according to Sgt. Joe Matherne.

He said the public will be invited and urged to attend town hall meetings on the topic. The first will be held at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 9, at First Assembly of God, 1900 Highway C.

Another initiative is a website with information about heroin, as well as links to resources and treatment. The site, to be launched Tuesday, will be at www.jeffcityhope.com.

Self-medicating with any type of alcohol or drugs is problematic, but heroin use is particularly dangerous. Because the purity or impurity of the substance is unknown, ingesting it can cause unexpected and unwanted consequences.

Among mind-altering and mood-altering substances, some consign users to shackles of addiction. Others — including heroin — sometimes take no prisoners; they deal in death.

The recent prevalence of heroin is a scourge on our community.

Enforcement, education and prevention all are necessary to combat this insidious, illegal drug.

We must join to embrace and elevate HOPE.

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