Radio 101 commentator, Ally O'Reilly, worries about losing her brother to his heroin addiction. Her brother started using drugs recreationally when a friend stole opioid painkillers from his mother. Recreational use soon gave way to a full blown addiction and a life of "stealing money from family and friends, spending nights in jail, and repeating rehab stints.
Ally remembers one night when her brother stole her car to get some heroin. When he returned, she spent the day searching her car for drug paraphenalia and asking herself the question, "Why?'
Ally feels drug education in schools is inadequate. She disparages the singular focus on 'gateway drugs' like alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. In her experience, drug education programs rarely warn students about harder drugs such as opioids like heroin. She adds, "The limited drug education available seems to aim at being relatable, but it ends up sheltering students instead." She hopes schools will stop assuming that students know to avoid hard drugs, because she knows many students don't know the dangers involved. "My brother didn't," she adds.
Her brother is now in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous and is learning to live life independently from his parents. Ally believes he is growing into a pretty decent person. She says, "We've gone through rough patches, and it's not always easy, but I'm happy to say we are starting to feel like a whole family again."