Weatherford Democrat

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February 10, 2013

Deadly Dope: Confronting a local problem

Second in a series.

By CHRISTIN COYNE

Heroin is a significant and deadly problem for the Weatherford and Parker County area, those affected by and dealing with the issue say.

Last fall, within a month of each other, heroin claimed the lives of three men, all 24 years old at the time of their deaths and who attended Weatherford High School together.

Their families and friends say their battles with substance abuse began in their teens, something that local experts say is common. At least four others died of heroin-related causes in Parker County last year, as well, according to Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s records.

Bob Hopkins has spoken locally about the issue since his son died five years ago at the age of 18 due to heroin. He said he would like the community recognize substance abuse for the evil that it is.

“As a community, we have to admit that we have a drug problem,” Hopkins said.

“Almost every kid can tell you where to go to get drugs,” Hopkins said, adding that average parents don’t have a clue that an average student, no matter their grades or other factors, knows someone who can provide them drugs.

“The problem with heroin is it’s become so accepted,” Hopkins said. “But it spares nobody.”

Drug addiction is not a problem that Hopkins believes can be addressed on the federal or state level; rather, he said, it is something that needs to be tackled community by community.

Hopkins said he believes it’s time for city leaders to organize a task force. He would like to see people in leadership positions and in authority, such as judges, peace officers, attorneys, drug treatment providers and other community members come together on the same page and create a plan to address the deadly issue locally.

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