Comment of the Day

Reader: Here's Why There Are So Many Heroin Addicts in Denver and Beyond

A reader recently argued that Big Pharma is responsible for the influx of heroin in Colorado.

His belief: Pharmaceutical companies have been pushing opiate-based pain killers, and when doctors cut off patients, they turn to heroin supplied by Mexican cartels looking to make up for the money they've been losing since limited recreational marijuana sales became legal.

The theory definitely rang true with plenty of readers.

However, one person maintains that the real reason for increasing heroin abuse is multi-faceted — and as a former addict herself, she speaks from experience.

Here's what she had to say.

A reader writes:
Yes, and then no. I have worked for substance abuse agencies in this state and others, and was once an addict myself. Yes, pharmaceutical companies are to blame for introducing opiates as an easy out for pain, without being responsible about the consequences. But who is really to blame for all the addicts on the streets of Denver, increasing daily? It's a variety of things that have created a perfect storm. Society is to blame, for the stigma they attatch to addicts. Stigmas, and judgments that have been engrained into the American belief system. These beliefs that addiction in the result of a moral failing- that leads to people not asking for help. Or it leads to insurance companies not believing that addiction is a disease that should be treated on a continuum of care, like any other disease. It leads to entire neighborhoods in America being caught in a vicious poverty cycle, stuck in our legal system and unable to fufill their potential as humans with rights. These are just a few of the damaging consequences of the drug war, which is THE reason for increased substance abuse disorders of all kinds. Period.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts