A snapshot of our opioid crisis

Every day we’re confronted by the exploding opioid crisis ravaging the region. A story today about a La Crosse, Wis., family adds to the head-shaking senselessness.

Roberta Draheim, 50, is sure that heroin killed her daughter on Monday when she found Britney, 25, unresponsive in bed with two younger children, the La Crosse Tribune reports.

“My daughter is dead,” Draheim told dispatchers. “It’s heroin. I know it’s heroin.”

How did she know? Because she says Britney was searching for heroin to treat a toothache.

Draheim, understandably, was inconsolable, the Tribune says.

She was also under the influence of drugs, the police suspect.

Police found 12 grams of meth and drug paraphernalia throughout the house and small bags with trace amounts of meth and a BB gun in Draheim’s bedroom, according to the criminal complaint. Officers also found a plastic bag with a residue consistent with heroin in the living room.

The Tribune says mom could be charged with first-degree reckless homicide under a law that holds drug dealers accountable in fatal overdose cases.

  • >>The Tribune says mom could be charged with first-degree reckless homicide under a law that holds drug dealers accountable in fatal overdose cases.<<

    This whole situation is heartbreaking.

    • shleigh

      Tragic all around.

  • Tragic. The biggest part of the problem is supply. There are plenty of street drugs available, but there is also a huge oversupply of prescription opiates. A ready supply in either category makes these deadly drugs cheap and easy to find. Thankfully some government officials are taking action: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2017/11/30/county-attorneys-in-minnesota-sue-opioid-manufacturers-distributors

  • Jim in RF

    There’s always been a drug-of-the-day: speed, mushrooms, crack, etc., but at least they were all officially illegal. What’s different with opiates is that you can get a prescription and go to the Walgreens, and that some big manufacturer in Switzerland or someplace with a CEO and shareholders and lobbyists has a financial interest in keeping it going.

  • Mark in Ohio

    I must note that the efforts to cut the supply of prescription painkillers (especially without significant increased in help for addicts) serves to drive up the fatality rate. With prescription pills, you have a known potency and dosage behavior, so the user knows exactly what they are getting. When you cut back on the availability of those, people turn to street drugs, which are cheaper but of uncertain potency and latency within the body.

    It’s simple business logistics that the illegal suppliers will use the most powerful per volume drugs that they can get (fentanyl, carfentanil) because shipping smaller amounts of something is easier than shipping larger amounts, especially when you are smuggling something illegal. This same potency per volume makes the dilution of the drugs both more difficult and more critical, and results in the aforementioned potency variability.

    The results are so predictable that I have to believe it was the intent of the lawmakers to drive up the fatality rate. After all, to most of them, users are morally deficient scum and the only good junkie is a dead junkie. There are no quick fixes to this problem. We will have to be willing to be driven by evidence over doctrine, and pay attention to the secondary and longer term effects of what we do.

  • AL287

    When I was doing jail nursing, an 85 year old grandmother was booked on possession of illegal prescription narcotics with intent to distribute.

    She said she needed the extra money to pay her rent which had skyrocketed with the oil boom in western North Dakota. Rents, which under normal economic conditions would run under $800/mo. had more than doubled to $2,000 and up—for an efficiency apartment.

    Owners of apartment complexes drove many elderly out of Williston and surrounding towns, a lot of whom had lived there for generations because the oil companies were willing to pay the vastly inflated rents.

    When a society takes an “every man for himself” approach as we are in the United States right now, nobody wins.

    I subscribe to Zillow because at one time I wanted to get into a single level home and stop pouring $915 rent into a place I didn’t own.

    These days any houses under $125,000 are being promoted as “investment opportunities” and the more well to do are snapping them up and renting them at prices upwards of $1,000 or they do some minor renovations like new flooring and fresh paint and then sell them at an inflated price (flipping).

    It seems to be the latest fad to boast that you own rental property.

    When you can’t make it on minimum wage you have to pay the bills somehow and dealing illegal drugs is easy money and an iresistable temptation when you’re facing eviction/foreclosure and have three kids to support.

    Constantly coveting what another has promotes discontentment and the opioid crisis is the outgrowth of a society trying to ease its emotional and physical pain.

    Things will not turn around until we eradicate the what’s-in-it-for me attitude that is currently sweeping the country.