Impact of Heroin Addiction on Family and Town

ByABC News
August 21, 2001, 11:32 AM

Aug. 22 -- Dear Parents: I am the mother of three children, two of whom are addicted to heroin.

I have been involved in this horrific odyssey for six years. There are no words to describe the impact heroin addiction has had on my children and my family. Heroin addiction destroys and ruins lives.

An Involved Parent

When my oldest son Peter and only daughter Charity (McIver) became involved with heroin, I had no idea it was happening. I was, and am, an involved parent. I have a master's degree in child development. I stayed at home to raise my children because I wanted to be the person who formed and molded their opinions and values. My husband and I were active in our children's lives. We spent all our time together as a family. We did everything right and it turned out wrong.

I thought I should have seen it coming, but I didn't. And most likely you won't either, because we all suffer from the "Not My Kid" syndrome. I didn't plan on my children being in jail instead of attending college. I never considered the humiliation of public trials or the degradation of sitting in the county detention center, feeling out of place as I waited to see my child. Drug addiction didn't happen to families like mine. Drug addiction only happened in dysfunctional households where the parents didn't supervise their children and the home life was abysmal.

I was wrong. I have watched my happy, vibrant children go on a downward spiral into a deep depression, to a place where I couldn't follow and wouldn't want to. As they traveled into the belly of the dragon, down into the depths of hell, there was nothing I could do to save them.

Mom Can't Fix This

Educate yourself about the signs of drug use and addiction. Heroin use can mirror typical adolescent behavior, and you can be fooled into believing everything is OK. If you suspect that your child is using drugs, intervene now. You have the right to search your child's room. Get help immediately. Treat this like any other life-threatening disease.