[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff:]

I Hate Heroin.

You go to bed thinking about it, you wake up thinking about it…all day long in the back of your head you are thinking about it..no…I don’t use heroin, in fact I’ve never used any drugs but my son is an addict. Sometimes in the middle of the night when he is out on the streets I jolt awake because I hear him screaming “Mom, help me”. I wake up with my heart pounding with a cold sweat on my body just knowing that my son just died and I couldn’t help him. It sounds like he was outside my bedroom window yelling. I get out of bed and go to his Facebook pleading with his friends to tell me if they have seen him recently and if he was okay…because he no longer has that $200 phone it was sold for that last hit, gram, push (I have no idea how you describe it) of heroin. I have even at certain times threatened his drug friends that I was coming for them. I had to blame someone..right?

He is on his sixth, seventh or eighth rehab…I can’t remember but each time I think this is “the one”. If I could keep him in Phase One of rehab the rest of his life, I would because he excels at it…it’s when he gets five minutes to himself in the next phase that it falls apart.

Driving through town with all of those silly signs “kids before addicts” I have to wonder if I am in Alice in Wonderland and fell down the rabbit hole. In 2013 61% of the drug addicts were kids…who do they think they are saving the kids from? Themselves?

My son overdosed in a “trap house” once, they surely were not calling 911, they dumped him on the street in a puddle and a passerby called 911. He was DOA but they got him breathing again but he was in a coma and on a respirator for a week…he went to his first rehab when they discharged him. I was in seventh heaven…finally (I had been trying for several months to get him in a program) he will be saved; I truly was clueless to the power of heroin.

One thing I have learned through all of this..you cannot save someone from themselves. If only I had a magic wand. I have also decided after many “family weeks” in rehab that I really don’t believe in co-dependency although no one in the rehab world will agree with me. I believe as a mother we do what we can live with when they die. I don’t give him money, I will take him to dinner and I will buy him insulin…yes on top of being a heroin addict he is Type 1 diabetic (since he was 16 years old, he is now 22).

I have either gone or sent my 28-year old daughter as she lives in Puyallup where he hangs out to many trap houses to deliver insulin to him so doesn’t die…I decided if he was going to die it wasn’t going to be from lack of insulin. Yes, I have left messages for the police about drug houses but they are so overwhelmed with drug houses they don’t even return the call.

There are no guarantees in life…just love them while they are here. Things could be worse, he could be a rapist, murderer, pedophile, pregnant, he isn’t missing (most of the time), he isn’t on death row nor does he blame me for his issues…. he is simply a drug addict. My prayer is that he never harms another soul in his walk with drugs. If you met my son when he is sober you would like him, the little kids adore him. He is sweet, kind and loving with a great sense of humor.

This last go round (a month ago) he called and said I need a detox but it’s in Olympia I have no way of getting there, I went and picked him up and drove him there. He was so sick I wasn’t sure he would be alive when we got there. Once they are addicted they don’t use to get high…they use to not be sick. All I could say to him was “God has a plan for you because your ass should be dead by now you better start listening to what he is telling you”.

The real heroes in this world to me are not the police, firemen or soldiers (although they are awesome) it is the Matt’s, Levi’s, John’s, Sean’s and Mike’s who have lived through this addiction and do everything they can to help gather him (and many others) back in and try to help them. I can call anyone of them day or night and they drop everything to try to help my son. I have known about ten boys to die from this…these guys have buried many more friends yet they don’t quit trying..they are true heroes. Perhaps my son will be one of them someday.

No one wakes up and decides to be a junkie and as hard as it is too watch it..imagine what it is like to live it. There are many days that I pray “Lord you know how this is going to end….if he is going to die from it please take him sooner rather than later as I can’t keep doing this”.

If you have not read the poem “Mr. And Mrs. Heroin” google it…it ends with “just come take my hand and I will lead you to hell”…

Yes…I hate heroin…
……please Lord save him because I can’t…

Blessings to all who are struggling with this as I know there are many but not very many who will share it. Interestingly enough this started soon after my older son killed himself…the aftermath of suicide perhaps?

– Carri Litowitz

[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we’ll consider publishing it.]


26 Responses to “LETTER TO THE EDITOR: I Hate Heroin”
  1. Lisa says:

    Thank you for sharing this, I’m sure it was hard, you are brave. The kids not addicts signs make me sad, sometimes angry. Addiction is a huge problem it kills loved ones everyday and turning our backs on it will only make it worse.

    I’m disappointed in my community for forcing out this much needed facility. We have so many churches here, but so little love.

    Know that you are not alone I’m with you in this fight against heroin, this fight to save your son.

  2. BirchCreek says:

    This issue was “not in this community”, but its location.
    My medical experience, is that this is both a choice and physical disease.
    Someone has to make a conscious decision to take that first dose of the drug.
    Then it becomes a physical disease as their body becomes addicted to it.
    It truly messes up lives. We see this almost daily in the ER at Highline.

    • Tired of the Hypocrites says:

      Actually, people who opposed the location said that they would be supportive of the services if they were to be provided somewhere else in a place more appropriate. But that’s not what has happened. No one has spoken up in support of the services. In fact, the No Woodment FB page is still FILLED with ignorance about addiction, homelessness and mental illness and they all seem to be fueled by some kind of weird personal hatred for VC and their current executive director’s smirk. Never mind the people who need help. I haven’t seen or heard a single expression of support for ANY kind of services from the Woodmonters, and in fact, they continue to trash a non-profit social service agency without considering the thousands of people who benefit from that agency.
      This mom is suffering more than she has to – ARE YOU SEEING THE PART IN HER STORY WHERE THERE IS NO BED TO DETOX her son?? Do you hear that her older son took his life? This family needs help, not stigma and shame, which is what those stupid signs promote. Real people have been suffering in the here and now and their suffering will continue because we don’t have enough resources or beds. Thank goodness all the little children in the Woodmomt area are safe and sound, though……..of course, that’s not true, either. I would have a lot more respect for the “not in this location” group if just one of them was actually involved in trying to make it work somewhere else. But nope. Silence.

      • Another Mom says:

        The group of concerned Woodmont residents actually HAS proposed several other locations. We have been working with our state senators/Reps on alternatives. But that doesn’t make the news- it’s not as interesting as making us out to be ignorant snobs.

        • Tired of the Hypocrites says:

          Oh! The concerned Woodmonters have been meeting with elected representatives in private and not keeping the larger community informed about what you have been up to?Hmmmm. Fascinating that you all think that YOU and a couple of politically motivated elected representatives know more about what it takes to provide mental health and addiction services than the actual entity licensed and experienced in doing so. The mental health provider was ‘in over their heads” but you all know better? And you all say that VC lied to everyone….but it’s okay for you to try and work back room deals with elected representatives and not even tell the people in the FB group who you are supposed to represent? Ha! Valley Cities still owns that property. And the city has stated that they have no grounds for a lawsuit against VC. And obviously no one else has any grounds for a lawsuit or they would have already filed it. There have been break ins, shootings and more vandalism in our city WITHOUT having this healthcare facility on pacific highway. ya know what is really sad? What’s really sad is that more folks aren’t reaching out to offer support to this mom who wrote the letter. That’s the saddest thing. “Kids Before addicts.” Yup. Addicts – everyone is someone’s baby……
          There is ZERO evidence that anyone from the “Kids before Addicts” crowd has done anything at all to HELP. There is no evidence of that at all…just your statement that some private meetings were held with elected representatives.

          • SaveDesMoines says:

            So, “tired of the hypocrites” I’m guessing you would be equally offended if there were signs that read, “kids before murderers” because even murderers are somebody’s kid. Basically it would be offensive to you to put kids before anybody!!!

          • Tired of the Hypocrites says:

            I’m not offended by the signs.
            Nice try.
            And I have kids, too.
            Look- there really will be no winners in this conversation so I will stop.
            We can all agree that we hate heroin.
            And it seems that we agree on a need for more services.
            I’m going to leave it there. Blessings.

          • Tired of the Hypocrites says:

            Someone struggling with addiction is in need of treatment for a disease.
            A murderer has been convicted of killing someone…..taking an innocent life.
            That you immediately jumped to this outlandish comparison speaks volumes.

          • SaveDesMoines says:

            First of all I wasn’t saying it compare the two, I was saying it to see if you had any limits which it appears you do. Why then are we not allowed to set some limits that require these types of services to stay at least 1,000 feet from our elementary schools. Why is that such a crazy idea to you? If 1,000 feet is not acceptable to you then what is? Right next door? 200 feet? 500 feet? Maybe 1,000 feet?
            I am a stay at home Mom, with one child at Woodmont and one still too young for school and I admit that I have no idea where the facility should move to and I am much too busy and lack the knowledge to find them the perfect place to move to. I do not think I should be belittled for wanting to keep my children safe and if I feel they won’t be safe with this facility near their school then I would be a poor mother indeed if I did not stand to fight for them….

          • BirchCreek says:

            Hey “Tired”, the CDC is tracking violence as a disease process.

  3. Another Mom says:

    First- to the author, I am so sorry for you and your family. I truly hope your son gets away from heroin. I truly hope you get your son back.
    Second- the neighbors of the proposed Valley Cities site were lied to. Repeatedly. We DO support more addiction services. But re-read the authors tale of her son- rehab stay after rehab stay, of the desperation and the criminal activities that go along with drugs

    Nobody wants desperate addicts gathering in their backyard. If you’re honest with yourself, you don’t either. It’s not that addicts are bad people, or that we are cruel people. We aren’t snobs. We just don’t want dealers looking for hundreds of gathered addicts ready to fall off the wagon cruising our streets. We don’t want a gathering of desperate people looking at our property as a source for that next hit. And that is FAIR.

    Valley Cities was deceptive and dishonest throughout the application process. why should we trust them to be good neighbors when they are dishonest from the beginning? The state gave out several contracts for 16 bed inpatient facilities. All the other agencies are building 16 bed inpatient facilities. Valley Cities turned that in to 24 beds plus outpatient plus methadone plus a cafe for addicts/homeless to come hang out at, plus medical/dental services provided by HealthPoint, who already have a facility 2 blocks away. They say they don’t even look to review the impacts on traffic or the environment. They don’t know what they are doing. That puts our neighborhood at risk.

    We DO want more services. This site is just the wrong place to do it and Valley Cities are in over their head on what they want to get done. We need to help addicts, but it’s not fair to call us names and judge us for wanting our kids safe, too.

    • Rumplestiltskin says:

      I agree with Another Mom and I’d like to emphasize that it’s not necessarily the drug addicts that will be in the neighborhood, but the competing drug dealers. Drug and gang related shootings and the attendant collateral damage can stay far away from Woodmont please.

      • Tired of the Hypocrites says:

        Drug dealers are already here. Gang related shootings are on the rise, too.
        We already have addicts in Des Moines. Nothing has changed except that the problems are getting worse.
        I have plenty of criticism for VC in how they went about trying to do this. But instead of going to war with them, did any of you sign up to volunteer with them or reach out to understand why they were trying to do all this at one spot? Anyone talk to NAMI?
        I’m guessing not but maybe I’m wrong.
        But – it’s disingenuous to say that all of you are in favor of these services. You all went crazy to get this facility stopped and to get VC stopped and you succeeded.
        And you should all be reminded of how successful you’ve been at shutting it down.
        Good job.

  4. Another Mom says:

    Tired of the hypocrites: We don’t need to prove anything. But if you need proof for whatever reason, Tina Orwall and other legislators have released public statements about their work with the community on finding alternate locations. Did you call up your reps and suggest a location near your home/kids? Didn’t think so.

    The services are definitely needed. It’s just a matter of respecting the needs of the neighbors, too. Valley Cities has announced plans to move the psych and methadone services a whole 3 miles away. To a site NOT feet from homes and a school. Much more appropriate and not far away. The services WILL be provided, and in this general area. So why do you hate us so much?

    And to the original author- I don’t hate your son. I wish him well. We all hate heroin and what it does to people. The damage to users and the collateral damage to their family and neighbors is unspeakable. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

  5. Carri says:

    I debated taking out that statement but it is truly what I feel (61% of the addicts are kids-so the sign makes no sense to me). I did not do this to get a political fight going. I know how many of our kids are on drugs…they start very young and once they get into heroin or meth it is a fight for their life. It did not matter to me if VC was put in there or not (except the methadone clinic part, I was against that), I was not against VC as those seeking help are not the problem it is the ones wandering our streets now that are.
    I was just trying to bring awareness to the heroin addiction that is rampant in our country. Seattle ‘s heroin rate rose 58% last year and meth 61%. I have seen kids as young as 11 and men as old as 65 in rehab for heroin and meth. Our whole community is at risk for both drugs and theft as that is what addicts do to support their habit. I only shared my story because I know there are others out there that will not talk about it and they are going through it in their family. Blessings to all!

  6. Charles Wilkes says:

    The first thing I thought to myself when I first seen one of those signs was “Most addicts ARE children”. What a stupid and selfish sign that is.
    Put a treatment center on every corner and you will begin to see a better world….

  7. Katherine says:

    To tired of hypocrites,

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. Perhaps if teen/kid drug addiction was so much of a problem VC could have opened the clinic to treat children instead of adults. I don’t think there would have been opposition to that. The children can be saved. I understand that when you are a parent that an adult child is always your kid but the reality is they are adults and they made choices. I feel no obligation whatsoever to participate in finding a suitable location for this adult rehab facility. I just wanted it away from the library and the elementary school. The bottom line is these drug addicted people should not be treated at a location in such close proximaty to a public library and certainly not near an elementary school. If the statistic is correct and 61% of kids are addicts, that leave 39% that are not and they are worth protecting.
    I have addicts in my family, they made choices.

    • Charles Wilkes says:

      At one point those addicts in your family lost the ability of choice. Educate yourself and quit making yourself look stupid.
      And where did it say it was an “adult” only facility? Or are you just making things up to fit your agenda?

      • Tirina says:

        Charles Wilkes, The Woodmont Recovery Center was going to have 24 inpatient beds for adults and 44 detox beds for adults. No children were ever considered. And Katherine is right on point. Adults make choices. Unless the person is being held captive and force fed these drugs the person makes a decision each day to take them. Yes, it is very hard to stop taking a drug you are addicted to and has probably changed your body chemistry in some way to the point it makes you sick not to take said drug, but it can be done. I have done it myself….and these were “prescribed drugs”. Quit giving the addict an excuse to never get better. Doctors, especially psychiatrists, run around telling people that nothing is their fault and it will be almost impossible for them to ever get better because they were born that way, or it is genetic, or whatever. Really??? Do you think the addict should never be held responsible for their own decisions….people like you are the reason they never get better. You don’t expect them to.

        • Tired of the hypocrites says:

          Oh good grief, Trinia. A person who is physically addicted to a substance will experience withdrawal. For some folks, that is dangerous and requires inpatient care. I think you are familiar with benzos, opiates, alcohol, yes?
          For nearly all, their chances of remaining sober/clean increase when they are provided with evidence based treatment interventions. Bravo for you that you were able to kick the prescribed drugs on your own! That’s great. But we have over 400 people dying every year in Kong County alone from drug overdoses so clearly this is a public health emergency. No one is saying that people who abuse drugs AND ALCOHOL aren’t responsible for their choices. Where did you get that idea? If the medical providers you were seeing told you that nothing was your responsibility, then you’ve been receiving poor medical care. But to generalize your opinion to an entire medical profession is faulty logic at best and dangerous at worst. It’s absolute insanity for you to suggest that someone who is speaking out in support of treatment for people who abuse substances is part of the reason people who abuse substances don’t get better in the first place…..because we don’t expect them to?! Give me a break. I absolutely believe that people who abuse substances can stop and part of their success depends on them taking responsibility for their choices…..um, gee, by GOING TO TREATMENT.

          • Tirina says:

            Tired of the Hypocrites, I was responding specifically to Charles Wilkes comment, not to you or anyone else. Why are you so obviously angry? I shared my opinion in response to what I felt was an incorrect statement by Charles as I do have personal experience. I do agree that some people need inpatient care to get off drugs, especially those that can physically kill you if you stop them abruptly…..like alcohol. I don’t think most of these places do a very good job of helping people looking at the statistics and my family. My dad and brother have been to many inpatient facilities…probably over 14 times combined. They still drink and do drugs. I also agree I was receiving poor medical care…Valley Cities was my care provider for the drugs I had to detox from…including benzos. They told me I’d never get better no matter what I did. They were wrong. This is why I fought so hard to get rid of the Woodmont Rehab Center. Valley Cities should be investigated in my opinion. You have to expect someone to get better in order for them to get better if you are helping them. Charles repeated the old line of “it’s not their fault, they can’t help it, they lost the ability of choice at some point”. My response to that was the same as yours…there is always a choice…that is not what Charles implied. So calm down. I actually agree with you.

    • Carri says:

      I keep seeing it should not be by a library where our kids go….the same library that allows perverts to view porn in plain sight (because it is discriminatory to make them view in a different room). The same library that removed cameras so they did not have to release footage of a crime that occurred to the police and the parking lot is used for sex trafficking. Kids would be safer around addicts seeking help…just saying

  8. Tired of the Hypocrites says:

    Great to hear that you are supportive of VC using the property to site services for children.

  9. Katherine says:

    You NEVER lose your ability to make a choice. I’m sorry but there is a difference between an adult child and a child. When a grown man or woman decides to stick a needle in their arm or smoke crack or meth they are making a choice. How much data do these people need for them to figure out that if you make these choices they will likely become an addict. Do you know any recreational crack smokers? heroin users? meth users? Im sure the answer is NO. Reason being is because these are highly addictive drugs so when you make the choice to use or try these drugs it’s not for recreational purposes. You are making a choice to become an addict. You will not get any sympathy from me for an addict. I’m glad the facility was relocated to a more suitable location. I don’t need to educate myself on drug addicts. My priority will always be for the safety of children. I think it’s highly dysfunctional that you people feel that the Woodmont location was appropriate.

    If you think that a private viewing room at the library would be more suitable to view pornography on the computers, you are a sick person. I have never witnessed anyone viewing pornography on the library computers. If they do that’s their choice. Most of the computers have privacy screens for a reason. Let’s not make the library the bad actor. VC, the former mayor Kaplan, the planning department and the city manager Tony Piasecki are the bad actors.

    The people have spoken! We do not want a merhadone treatment facility next to the public library or in close proximity to an elementary school. I don’t know what is wrong with you people. Do you realize that the owners of Redondo Square have hired a law firm that has sent the city of Des Moines two letters threatening a lawsuit because of the Woodmont Recovery? Don’t bury your heads in the sand. Some of you people with drug addicted family members can afford private treatment for your loved ones. Don’t be angry at the parents, business owners, homeowners because they were opposed to the location of this facility. Certainly don’t deflect your anger onto the elementary school children by implying they are the addicts. I would like to know where the writer got the 61% statistic. I do not believe that for one minute. If you’re talking ADULT CHILDREN, I believe it but actual children… I do not believe your 61% statistic.

    • Tirina says:

      Katherine, you stated that very nicely. Thank you. I do, however, have sympathy for some addicts. People can easily become addicted to painkillers, benzo’s, and psych meds. All 3 are very hard to kick as they greatly affect your brain chemistry over time and you become both physically and mentally addicted. Ever try to get off of an anti-depressant or a benzo….horrible. The doctors that prescribe these medications need to be far more careful of what and how much they prescribe to people. They also need to monitor them better. Of course, the person did make a choice to take the doctors advice/meds….however, in my opinion, this group of addicts are created by incompetent doctors. You should be able to trust your doctor to know what is best and to do you no harm. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Now the people who do meth or heroin or drink….no sympathy. Even if they started out being addicted to prescribed painkillers, they made the choice to start taking heroin. And you are correct, all these substances are known to be highly addictive and should be avoided if you do not want to risk being an addict.

  10. Commenting has been closed due to uncivil behavior.