Heroin Epidemic in the Shippensburg Community

Heroin Epidemic in the Shippensburg Community

By: Marissa Merkt

In this year alone, four SU communication journalism students died. The culprit, heroin. While you may not follow the news daily and live under a rock, it is impossible to avoid hearing about the heroin epidemic. Here are some quick facts about this drug problem in our “back yard”.

Heroin is derived from morphine.

This addictive drug grows from the same plant as poppy seeds. It can be retrieved from the plant’s pods. Heroin is the fastest acting opiate drug and can cause both physical and psychological effects after entering into the brain.


Heroin was once sold over the counter.

The Bayer Company of Germany introduced heroin in 1898 after searching for a safer pain reliever than morphine. Cough medicines and other remedies containing heroin were sold over the counter in United States in the early 1900s. However, soon doctors discovered that heroin was actually more addictive than morphine and entered the brain rapidly.




A typical bag of heroin costs $10.

While this may not sound like a lot, an average drug user intake approximately 10 bags a day which totals to $100. Since heroin is such an addictive drug, these users are looking for any way possible to scrap up money for their drug. As a result, Police Chief Fred Scott explained how crimes like car break-ins have tripled recently.



The side effects of heroin:

Soon after heroin is taken, the drug user will feel an initial surge of euphoria. This is then followed by flushing of the skin, dry mouth, feeling as though limbs are heavy, drowsiness after the euphoria wears off, cloudy mental function as well as breathing and heart rates drop as the central nervous system becomes depressed. These effects appear minutes after taking heroin, but diminish after a few hours.


Recovery is most effective when user combines behavioral and pharmacological treatment options

In order to overcome a heroin addiction a user must first go through the detoxification process at a drug rehabilitation center. They then must take medication and partake in therapy. Many users find it helpful to attend support groups and classes where they can learn how to deal with triggers.


 While some users are able to come clean, heroin is still a serious problem. Heroin isn’t just an epidemic in Shippensburg, it is occurring elsewhere as well. In Pennsylvania, 40 counties tallied 332 heroin-related deaths in 2009 and 827 in 2012.







Source: http://www.livescience.com/51804-facts-about-heroin.html