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Heroin: ‘We are going to be the best of friends’

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of columns on the perils of heroin. See Part 2 here, Part 3 here , Part 4 here and Part 5 here.

Hello, young person.

My name is Heroin.

It is so good to meet you for the first time. And I just know we are going to be the best of friends.

Go ahead — try me. Don’t pay any attention to what your parents and society have been telling you your whole life about me.

I promise you will LOVE me!

I am going to make you feel better, by far, than you’ve ever felt or could imagine feeling. I will take you by the hand and take you to places of warmth and happiness and joy the likes of which you’ve never dreamed.

I guarantee you, we will become inseparable!

Because while I have you by the hand, I will also grab you by the throat in a vice-like grip that will make it hard for you to breathe. Everything in your life that used to be so important will pale in comparison to the relationship you and I will have.

I will own you. You will become my slave and you will do whatever it takes to keep me around.

You will lose job after job. But I’m expensive so you will steal from your friends and family. You will find creative ways to pay for me because what used to be enough of me will soon not be nearly enough.

Unless you’re incredibly lucky you’ll likely be arrested and spend time in jail because of me. But I’m worth it. I must be because you’ll return to me at the first possible moment you’re able.

Because now you’re weak and I’m incredibly strong.

Don’t have kids because you’ll ignore them. And neglect them. And eventually lose them.

Because I’m more important than even them.

Rehab? Forget about it.

Oh, you’ll try. Several times. But only a precious few are able to cut ties with me permanently.

You’ll discover that you hate me.

But you’ll hate yourself more.

There’s really only one way that I’ll release my hold on you.

When years of addiction finally take their toll. When life with me is no longer worth living. When either disease or desperation reach that final, inevitable conclusion.

When my never-ending grip on your throat finally chokes the very life out of you, metaphorically and then physically. When your heart stops, I’ll stop.

And then you’ll be gone.

But I’ll still be around. Looking. Always looking.

For that next victim.

Ah, there’s one.

Hello, young person.

My name is Heroin.

Rick Jacobs

Rick Jacobs

Heroin. The Big H. Hell Dust. Smack. Junk. Thunder.

These are a few of the monikers you’ll hear on the streets, used by those familiar with heroin. I prefer to think of it as a monster. One that keeps its victims in a perpetual nightmare. One that wraps its tentacles not only around the victim, but also around the victim’s family as well.

I’ve never actually seen the drug, but I was around in the ’60s when it made its first real impact on a generation that wanted to turn on and tune out, to make love, not war. As a child, I clearly remember hearing about heroin, the message being that it was dangerous and ultimately deadly. Apparently my generation listened because we were largely spared from the devastation of a heroin addiction.

Today’s younger generation, however, for one reason or another, is feeding the monster once again, and in numbers that are both staggering and frightening.

“Eighteen- to 25-year-olds seem to be the target,” said Detective Mike Christian, a 14-year veteran with the Bartlett Police Department, the past nine in Investigative Services, Narcotics Unit. “We are in a heroin epidemic of this generation.”

An epidemic that, according to Rebecca Kennedy, a peer specialist at Lakeside Behavioral Health, ends with far too many paying the ultimate price.

“It’s been bad,” she said. “I leave work on a Thursday, someone’s dead by Monday. This past weekend it was three.”

As I said, frightening. Or at least I hope it is.

I’ve seen firsthand the devastation of a heroin addiction. I’ve witnessed the deterioration of body, mind and spirit. I’ve watched an addicted father walk away from his children and live as if they don’t exist. I’ve watched their mother, my only daughter, desperately try to hang onto them, going through rehab after rehab, only to relapse again and again.

The problem is, two toddlers are just too difficult to care for, and provide for, when heroin dominates your life.

And since she can’t, I do.

Over the next three or four weeks I will write about this epidemic. My goal is prevention. The only sure way to beat a heroin addiction is to never take that first hit. Because once you’ve crossed that line, there’s no going Even if it’s not a death sentence, it is a life sentence.

I absolutely hate this drug.

I want you and your kids to hate it as well.

RICK JACOBS is an author, columnist, process server and family man who lives in Bartlett with his wife and grandchildren. Contact him at

15 Responses so far.

  1. […] note: This is the second in a series of columns on the perils of heroin. See the first column here, the third column here. and the fourth column […]

  2. […] note: This is the fourth in a series of columns on the perils of heroin. See the first column here, the second column here and the third column here. Next week’s column will be the […]

  3. Anonymous says:

    My oldest son died on September 22, 2015 from this – he was 36. I’ll never get over it. We had no idea. And the people that knew kept it to themselves. They think it was loyalty. I know it was ignorance – what could possibly go wrong? Since he passed, I blame every bad thing on heroin. Three years before this, my husbands nephew died the same way and left children to grow up without him – I think he was 36 as well. OUR CHILDREN ARE DYING!

  4. Andrea says:

    My brother passed away nearly 3 years ago in Bartlett of a heroin overdose. Why is more not being done to find the dealers and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law? What was done to find the person who sold this evil drug to my brother? Why did we only hear from the detective 2 times after my brother passed? So many questions of what is being done to prevent another family from dealing with the horrible pain we’ve experienced and still experience to this day. Don’t take all of that the wrong way….The Bartlett police, firefighters and paramedics were amazing the night he passed. So caring and understanding, but more has to be done to in the long term to prevent more and more families from dealing with the grief my family and I still experience almost three years later. Thank you for shining light on this epidemic.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much! So many parents are in the dark and need to be educated on this. My nephew is a cocaine and heroine user. I honestly don’t know how law enforcement can’t track where it’s coming from and get ride of the ones selling it. The punishments aren’t tough enough and the fails are full and over crowded.
    I have watched my nephew go in and out of jail. He health go up and down. It’s just horrible! I completely understand how that one mom wrote, “I can now rest in the comfort of knowing my son is not struggling with this addiction any longer”, he overdosed. Heart breaking…

  6. Dana says:

    My son Zach is 24 and going on his 2nd round of rehab and 1 OD. This is a drug like I’ve never seen. Yes it started with pills and progressed from there This is hell on earth.

    • Dianna Samples says:

      Dana I would like to tell you of a wonderful place that changed my 25-year-old son’s life. He was also addicted to heroin. It’s called John 3:16 Ministry in Charlotte, Arkansas. It is a 6 month program and is totally free. If you are interested, please call me. 901-649-9695.

  7. […] note: This is the third in a series of columns on the perils of heroin. See the first column here and the second column […]

  8. M C says:

    Heroine is an awful epidemic. However, no one starts with it. They turn to it after the high of prescription pain killers get too high. I hope in your articles you shine a light on how pharmaceutical companies are making a fortune off the tragedy of our loved ones.
    They make the first money off of opiate pain killers. Our loved ones think it can’t be that dangerous or they wouldn’t be allowed. Huge mistake!
    After the addiction takes over and they move from pain killers to heroin, Big Pharma gets the next rush of cash with suboxone as family desparately try to help thier loved ones overcome this.
    As the addiction pegressss, the pharmaceutical companies get another profit source with the drug being carried by first responders to counteract overdoses.
    You want to know the difference between the sixties and. now? It is ruthless pharmaceutical companies consumed by greed and legislative bodies who take the kickbacks to ignore facts. Why in the world would we allow any kind of opiate prescriptions on the market?!?

    • P. Beck says:

      In answer to your final question — There are opiates on the prescription market because there are people in such tremendous pain that they NEED them. The problem is not with the opiates; it is with the doctors who prescribe them indiscriminately. Frankly, the pendulum has now swung too far the other way. Doctors who specialize in pain management are now limited in the prescriptions they can write, and many insurance plans refuse to cover any opiates. I have great sympathy for the victims of the heroin epidemic. I also have great sympathy for people who are in terrible pain and have no access to prescription medications that are strong enough to give them some measure of relief.

  9. Lisa Renner says:

    Thank you for sharing – I lost my son 2/1/2017 – Jake was 29 years old and had the best heart. He had been struggling for over 10 years and wanted so badly to be rid of this demon drug – Heroin. It is truly an epidemic and we are losing our children everyday. Thank you for educating people and trying to prevent others from going down this path. Praying for all who are struggling or love someone who is struggling – it is the most difficult journey.

    • Cindy says:

      My heart goes out to u. My son is almost 27. 2 ODs 4 detoxes this year, wants it so bad but hasn’t been able to yet, so sweet and creative. I hate this drug and the devastation. Sorry for ur loss…

  10. Maranda Cooley says:

    Very powerful message. As the wife of a police officer and sister of a firefighter/EMT, I hear so many horror stories. God bless you for stepping up and taking care of your grandchildren. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers.

  11. Lisa Bobal says:

    Your last line is so true…my son was clean for 3 years and overdose in December. My only solace is knowing he isn’t struggli every day to fight it anymore.

  12. Polly Hall says:

    Hearts for Hope and Healing is doing its part to Stop the Stigma, Open the doors for communication and bring awareness to this epidemic.

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