The drug that’s sweeping the suburbs

The community of Santa Clarita is alarmed at the growing heroin epidemic in the small suburban town.

By: Katie Remy

Nine people overdosed in one night in Santa Clarita from a bad batch of heroin in April of 2017. A month later two more people overdosed and died.

Although heroin use is nothing new to SCV, this most recent cluster of overdoses has gotten the residents talking. Members of the community feel confused and alarmed about the epidemic and most people seem to be in agreement, this needs to stop.

Heroin can be found in powder form. Photo courtesy: Drug Enforcement Agency

I started with a survey sent out on Facebook, Reddit and community websites and asked some simple questions. Do you know anyone personally affected? Why do you think heroin has become an issue here? What can we do to prevent future overdoses and addictions? Almost all of the responses spoke of knowing someone who has been affected by this issue, but most are also puzzled by why it is happening here in Santa Clarita.

A tweet that may help represent the attitudes of the youth in the Santa Clarita Valley via twitter user @bman_127

Dr. Daniel Alves, who works at a local hospital Henry Mayo claims that the high number of overdoses could be due to a newer drug called Fentanyl being mixed into the heroin which is extremely dangerous and easier to over dose than just heroin alone.

Most people are curious how a small family oriented town got mixed up with such a bad drug. When I spoke with Deputy Kevin Duxbury he said that it is most likely coming in from the San Fernando valley. “People here have money so it makes it a great target area for dealers if they can get someone hooked,” said Duxbury.

Unfortunately heroin is not a stranger to Santa Clarita, back in 2011 it also at a hot topic in the valley, which is when the Heroin Kills: the High is a Lie program was started. Amanda Turner, a volunteer with the program told me that education and prevention needs to come at younger ages, which is why they advocate for high schools to have programs. This program works hand in hand with the club DFY in SCV (Drug Free Youth in Santa Clarita Valley) to specifically target the youth in Santa Clarita.

A video made by members of the DFY in SCV group via YouTube

My last stop was to speak with city council member Marsha McLean to see what our local leaders had to say about this concerning issue. She said that they are constantly working together with the police department and local organizations to help get the situation under control. Police officers in Santa Clarita now all carry a nasal spray called Narcan that can reverse the effects of an overdose and have been trained on how to use it.

Naloxone blocks or reverses the effects in opioid overdose and is found is in brands such as Narcan. via Creative Commons

They have also expanded their resources to have some local symposiums and drug support systems and programs. The most recent symposium was held on this Sept. and had a panel of professionals giving information and advice for teens and parents who may be affected.

“We need to try harder to keep the drugs out so that no one can even get the chance to try it once,” said Hunter Hineman, Santa Clarita resident. “That’s all it takes to get hooked.”

The suburb of Santa Clarita is known for being the home to Six Flags Magic Mountian. via google maps
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