COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Last week News Leader 9 anchor Jason Dennis was the only local television reporter at the National Prescription Drug and Heroin Summit in Atlanta.
The summit dug deep into the current state of opioid addiction, which is a crushing problem for thousands of Georgia families.
President Obama appeared at the summit and pledged more funding for treatment solutions.
In the weeks ahead you'll see Jason's special in-depth coverage of some of the causes of this sad epidemic and with it, we hope, some useful information for your family to use to start a meaningful conversation with children and young adults about the often fatal consequences of even a one-time fix of heroin.
Many parents report their kids develop a heroin habit following the initial legitimate need for opioid painkillers because of a serious injury.
One of the most popular opioid painkillers, OxyContin, costs as much as $80 per pill, so addicts quickly learn they can buy bags of heroin for as little as $5 instead, according to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
Heroin, which used to be much more expensive and difficult to get, is now so available it becomes what seems to the addict to be an easy escape from pain, but a dangerous and often deadly road to nowhere.
We hope our coverage of the heroin summit is just part of a broader based public discussion toward finding solutions to heroin addiction.
Mental health experts, addiction treatment programs, the justice system and the media all have important roles to play in educating kids very early and often that prescription pills should never be abused and that heroin use should never be an option.