The Girl Who Flew Away coverThe Girl Who Flew Away, my young adult coming of age novel, deals with the repercussions of heroin addiction. I chose this topic because at the time I wrote it, it was an ever-increasing problem. It remains so as of my posting this. Sally, a character in the novel, has battled addiction for years and, even knowing that she needs help, is not able to fully free herself from the shackles of her disease. The novel moved me as I examined the way Sally’s choices affected not just herself but her family as well. With addiction, there is so much lost potential and heartache.

Without having to look very far, I am constantly finding articles about the factors contributing to the deadly addiction to heroin (and related drugs). I wanted to collect them here. It seems to be a multi-pronged problem that requires many solutions. But like anything else, the first step is becoming aware of the problem.

If you have a resource to share, please contact me so that I can update this page. If you need help, please check out the resources below.


Drug overdoses killed 6,661 people in Virginia in the decade from 2007-2016, and are on track to snuff out nearly 1,200 more lives this year, according to the state’s chief medical examiner’s office. And it’s an epidemic without boundaries, affecting people of all ages and backgrounds.”
In short: The drug Naloxone has been used successfully to treat the growing number of heroine and fentanyl overdoses, but the real solution is to address the increasing potency of the street drugs and treat addiction itself.

From Reason Magazine: Opioid Addiction Report Uses Panic to Sell More Federal Spending (Aug. 1, 2017)

“The commission’s stated goal is to try to reduce the recent dramatic increase in opioid overdose deaths. The report is deeply concerned about black market access to synthetic opioids and notes that it comes directly as a result of the tightening of access to prescription drugs.”

In short: Though the government has stepped in to more closely watch doctors who prescribe opioids, this may be pushing people to the black market, which includes unregulated and highly potent alternatives to prescription pain management.

Resource: The National Institute on Drug Abuse.

This website provides a list of other resources for those seeking help.

Resource: The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

CSAT operates the 24-hour National Treatment Referral Hotline (1-800-662-HELP), which offers information and referral services to those seeking treatment programs and other assistance.

From the Loudoun Times-Mirror:  Deadly synthetic opioid confirmed in Loudoun County (Dec. 6, 2017)

The presence of Carfentanil or its derivatives has even required law enforcement agencies across the country to update policies and procedures when responding to opioid related incidents. 

In short: dangerous synthetics added to heroin make the drug even more deadly.