This tugged at some heart-strings, for sure. I am sorry for your loss. I crossed paths briefly with the recovery community, and knew some heroin addicts. Most are now behind bars, some have died.
What amazes me is the perception of addiction as a mere weakness of will and surmountable character flaw. I am continually saddened that for whatever reason, society never gave the addict the benefit of the doubt. Instead, we assumed that the addict just wants to live an unmanageable life on the verge of death and deprivation, rather than assuming that they are people like us who have a terrible affliction.
One thing that you didn’t mention specifically that is a real force for positive impact on this epidemic is drug courts. Their ability to keep nonviolent drug offenders out of prison and get them into intensive rehabilitation and mental health care will be key in getting an infrastructure of societal support under this problem. Once law enforcement and the criminal justice system see this epidemic as something they can help by support, rather than by segregation and punishment — that’s when we the tide turns.
Thank you for the article.