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The HEROIN epidemic in La Porte County

An INTERVIEW WITH LA PORTE COUNTY CORONER JOHN SULLIVAN 

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D. E. "Sonshine" Troche and Tanya Taschler, a former Intern for Worthy Recovery and student at PNC conducted an interview in March of 2012, with La Porte County Coroner John Sullivan. In this interview, Mr. Sullivan shared factual information of the tremendous and dangerous Heroin problem in La Porte County.

Although not exclusive, we hope that this report creates better awareness and perhaps education on the fatalities associated with the use of Heroin.  Mr. Sullivan stated “that the most common age for overdoses are white Males, ages 18 to 22. The most common age for users is 18 to 30. It was very rare to have a Heroin overdose over the age of 30. He stated “that most of the parents are reporting that these are good kids and they just get mixed up with the wrong crowd.”  Mr. Sullivan, with great concern on his face, stated “that some of the Heroin dealers will offer a first time user Heroin either free, or for a small fee in order to get them hooked.

 They will do this one to possibly two times. This lets the user get a feel for it, and gives the dealer a potential customer. In their eyes it is a win-win. It might not be a well-known fact, but Mr. Sullivan said that “there are rows or alleys in Chicago that are famous for selling Heroin. The drug-addicted kids know exactly where to go get it, but most Adults wouldn’t have any idea.”  He also stated that “There are different qualities of Heroin. A user familiar with Heroin purchased in La Porte, who then goes elsewhere for their supply, could be in grave danger.  If it’s a higher grade of Heroin or a batch laced with a foreign substance, and the same amount of the higher grade is injected, chances are they will overdose. Drug users are unaware of the risk they take.”

The above graph shows the Fatal Heroin overdoses, provided by Mr. Sullivan.

About 95% of the time deaths from Heroin are accidental. No one just wakes up and says “I think I’m going to do Heroin today” or “I think I’m going to overdose today” they simply use too much or their body handled yesterdays dose “better” than it can today.
Each year the number of deaths from poly drugs is double the number of deaths from Heroin only.  Poly means that they had multiple drugs in their system like pain killers, mood elevators, Xanax or lithium. Mr. Sullivan said that about 1 out of 5 overdoses are successfully resuscitated with narcan. When this happens the person that overdosed becomes irritated, agitated and sometimes aggressive because you just ruined their high that they just paid for.  
Mr. Sullivan’s tone of voice during our interview created a great sense of urgency in our minds.  The need for help is now, the resources for battling this epidemic must be identified, as we press on and research what options our young people have for receiving help for recovery.