News

DelVal helps raise awareness about heroin use

Credit: Delaware Valley University. Assistant District Attorney Matt Weintraub presents "Heroin Kills" at DelVal Oct. 28.

Oct 30, 2015

“I will likely bury my only child if she is not able to beat this addiction,” said a mother of a woman who is addicted to heroin in a video shown at “Heroin Kills,” an educational program held at Delaware Valley University.

Assistant District Attorney Matt Weintraub, who teaches in DelVal's criminal justice program, provided an informative talk on the issue in the University’s Life Sciences Building auditorium on Wednesday, Oct. 28. He discussed how people get hooked on heroin and how residents can help with the problem.

About 100 people attended the program, which was sponsored by the University’s undergraduate counseling psychology and criminal justice programs. The audience included: concerned community members, criminal justice students, counseling psychology students, faculty, treatment providers and families of people struggling with addiction.

“I don’t want you to be discouraged, even though it is all around us,” said Weintraub. “I want you to be enlightened.”

Weintraub said some heroin addictions start when people take prescription pain medication that is either legitimately prescribed to them or, that they gain access to. The medication can become incredibly addictive both psychologically and physically.

One person described his physical symptoms to Weintraub as being like, “having knives shoved into the bones of your body.”

So how does a person end up trying heroin? People who are addicted to pills become desperate to relieve their cravings and symptoms, but run out of money for pills. They turn to heroin when they can no longer afford the pills.

He said drugs are sold with “brands” and marketed by dealers to appeal to young people because the younger a dealer can get someone hooked, the longer they think they will have the client for.

A brand that was being sold in Bucks County called “Bad News” was killing people, but instead of avoiding the brand Weintraub said people were seeking it out because they thought it would provide a better high.

Weintraub said that Bucks County wants to encourage people to call for help if someone overdoses and that the law offers some protection for callers.

“We want people to call,” said Weintraub. “We want to save lives.”

He said that if a person calls 911 and is truthful, cooperative and remains on scene both the caller and the person who has overdosed may be given immunity from prosecution.

He also suggested that parents talk to their children regularly about drug abuse. According to the presentation, children of parents who regularly talk with them about drugs are less likely to become addicted to them.
 

How to Help:

  • Call in an Anonymous Tip- Residents can anonymously offer tips about heroin activity and turn in dealers in Bucks County by calling 215.348.DRUG (3784). Tips can also be emailed to
    drugtips@co.bucks.pa.us or, texted. To text a tip, text BUCKSDRUGTIPS to TIP411.
     
  • Lock Up or, Dispose of Unused Medication- Keep prescription medicine from getting into the wrong hands by securely locking it up. Residents can also drop off unused medication in boxes at the County's police stations. To learn more about the drop off program, visit: buckscounty.org.

Support for Families:

  • Anna Straw Initiative
    Anna Straw died of a heroin overdose and instead of hiding the cause of her death, her family chose to openly include it in her obituary. They started an initiative in her memory to help families of people struggling with addiction. To learn more about available resources for families, visit: annastrawinitiative.org or, call 1.800.221.6333.
     
  • Because I Love You
    Because I Love You has been helping families in crisis since 1982. To learn more about support and education programs, visit: bily.org.