This past Wednesday, Carlie Coulter, age 22, died of a heroin overdose. She had been struggling with addiction since the
age of 18. Her family is now joining with other parents out there to try to help end this surge of drug related deaths in younger people in Southern California.
Heroin is becoming an epidemic in the area, not just on the streets, but among middle and upper class youngsters too. While many kids start out with prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Xanax or Klonopin, heroin offers a much cheaper high.Smokeable heroin allows users to get high without having to deal with needles.
The LA County Sheriff’s office reports that there have been at least six heroin overdose deaths since August 2011. There is no word as to whether these were injectable or smokeable heroin though, or any other information on the victims. According to Cary Quashen, founder of Action Family Counseling and Action a Parent and Teen Support Program, “we’ve lost more than a dozen Santa Clarita kids this year to drugs.”
Clearly, this problem is just getting worse, not better. Carlie’s parents have joined Cary Quashen and others to make sure that the public is aware of the problem, and to try to do something to change it. Many point to a lack funding for rehab programs, but that isn’t the sole solution to the problem. We need to focus on education for parents and teens, to help keep kids off of drugs, and to help parents identify drug use as soon
as possible. Coulter had in fact been in a rehab program for heroin at House of Hope in San Pedro. She had been doing well and staying away from drugs, as far as her family knew, but as is often the case, she had a relapse.
Authorities and concerned citizens are pushing for changes, from stricter laws for those found dealing to additional funding for education programs in the local schools. Drug abuse is something that has to be brought out into the open and dealt with, not swept under the rug. The only winners in that case are the dealers themselves. The losers, of course, are the loved ones left behind.