Archive for October, 2008

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Heroin Epidemic in Rural America

Oprah Winfrey recently discussed the plight of families in rural America with journalist Lisa Ling.  She also talked to a family, and young pregnant mother, both addicted to heroin.


Journalist Lisa Ling has reported on critical issues across the globe, but she found this shocking story right in the middle of America. Richland County, Ohio, seems like a typical Midwestern community. An hour and a half north of Columbus, it’s a mostly rural area with more than 1,000 farms and nearly 130,000 residents. But the people who live here are facing a big-city problem.

Central Ohio, which includes Richland County, is in the grip of what the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) calls a heroin epidemic. Anthony Marotta, the DEA special agent in charge of Ohio, says the drug is coming out of Mexico and being transported to Ohio through the southwest border states.

“Heroin here in Richland County is completely out of control,” says Sergeant Don Zehner of the Richland County Sheriff Department. “It’s affecting everybody.” The situation has gotten so bad, local law enforcement officers say they’re in over their heads.Lisa says the most surprising thing about this devastating phenomenon is that it doesn’t discriminate. “I could not believe that people of different ages, different socioeconomic backgrounds, were literally dying this slow death in the middle of America,” she says. “The reason why it affected me so much is that I interviewed so many people, and every single one of them was begging for help. Nobody liked that they were addicted to heroin.”

Click here to read the entire story

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Expectant Mother Is One of Many Addicts in Rural Heartland

ABC News Nightline reports on the heroin epidemic in Rural America. As a sheriff quoted in the story said: “Everywhere you go, it’s like it’s snowing heroin.”

Merry Doerr has spent her whole life in the American farmbelt, a rural pocket of green tucked into the middle of Ohio. She’s close to her family, living with her mother and 4-year-old daughter.

Merry Doerr, a heroin addict, is currently pregnant with her second child. She plans to give her baby up for adoption. (ABC News

Merry Doerr, a heroin addict, is currently pregnant with her second child. She plans to give her baby up for adoption. (ABC News)

With her blond hair and blue eyes, Doerr embodies the classic American look — and says she grew up with classic American values.

“When I grew up, my mom had raised me in Christian beliefs,” she said, “and I knew … right from wrong based on the Bible. I was a cheerleader. I had a lot of friends.”

But life is different now. Doerr, who is five months pregnant and preparing for her second child, is not like other young mothers. She’s a heroin addict.

Click here to read the entire story

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