Heroin is a nationwide problem [Letter]

September 22, 2014

Kudos to commentator Kevin Shird's thoughtful op-ed on the realities of heroin use ("Baltimore's deserved heroin reputation," Sept 17). Mr. Shird amplifies the vital discussion raised in previous columns by The Sun's Dan Rodricks.

I agree that the labeling of Baltimore as America's heroin capital and the actual number of heroin users should not be the focus of policymakers, foundations and community leaders.

During the past year, my work entailed visits to nonprofit agencies in Boise, Idaho; Jefferson City, Mo.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Dayton, Ohio. Human service providers in all these cities described heroin use as "epidemic."

Heroin use is epidemic in Baltimore, across Maryland and in urban, suburban and rural areas throughout the country.

As the public discussion advances, it's important to factor in the economic consequences of heroin addiction on all of us.

In addition to the personal and family tragedies that heroin use inflicts, the dollar costs of lost lives and productivity and the growing need for effective prevention and treatment services mandate that all of us work together to promote recovery and public education about this epidemic.

Don Mathis, Havre de Grace

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