It’s not easy being a heroin addict in Chicago as the streets are flooded with high purity heroin that’s often cut with fentanyl. The day I walked up the heroin highway between Kane County and Chicago, wasn’t the first time I waited there for the dealer to arrive so I could get my early March morning fix. It wasn’t going to be the first time I suffered from debilitating heroin withdrawals. Cold sweats, severe anxiety, muscle pain and vomited in my car on the way there. It also wasn’t the first time I had to con my mother for money the night before, so I could get ‘well’ the next morning. Unfortunately, this day was not the last day of my heroin addiction, but what happened on that day led me to the doorstep of drug rehab in Illinois that I am now forever grateful for that I went.
Heroin in Chicago is Everywhere
Once I shot up and was relieved of my physical sickness, I started my usual routine. This routine, I now know is totally common for all junkies, and that is that it involves committing crimes to get money for more heroin, so I could avoid the withdrawal for another day. For myself, I preferred to shoplift and resell the items at a pawn shop. However, what was different on that day, was, I saw on Facebook a post about someone who I knew from the streets who had gone to treatment and relapsed. I had seen him right before he went to treatment, and although he tried to get clean, he had returned to the exact junkie he was before, which was a mess like me, but now he was dead.
I sat in my car and cried like I never had. In that moment of sorrow, I re-read his death announcement post and I noticed his family had put the name of a treatment center for all his friends to call. They were so saddened by his death, yet they still wanted to help others. This touched me deeply. The compassion his parents showed me just by placing that phone number there for me and other heroin addicts to see broke my heart. I decided to make the phone call. In less than a week I was at a detox and on my way to treatment.
Today, I have 3 years clean. It is also another day where there will be another overdose. I never knew how bad the problem had gotten before that day I got clean because I was in the problem. It is an epidemic in Chicago and most of Illinois and the Heroin Highway still exists. As of 2016 I’ve learned that heroin and drug overdoses are also the leading cause of accidental drug overdose death in the United States. The epidemic cannot be stopped until you, we, us, heroin addicts stop. It cannot be done alone. Recovery by entering heroin addiction treatment in Chicago will require detox, medication and a solid twelve-step program of treatment. This is what I had to do to end my 6-year addiction to heroin. Jail did not stop me. My family did not stop me, but my friend’s death and treatment did. The heroin addiction epidemic in Chicago is only getting worse, so it’s important to reach out for help if you or a loved one are affected.