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BU Panel Addresses Heroin Addiction Stigma

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By Faith Jessie.
The local Heroin epidemic is an ongoing and serious issue in our community. Area residents gathered at BU's Old Union Hall to discuss some aspects surrounding the issue.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heroin-related overdoses have quadrupled since 2002 with more than 8,200 people dying in 2013. Area resident Penny Stringfeild's son fell victim this year.

"During the time of his addiction I don't think I understood what a horrific brain disease it was," said Penny Stringfeild, mother of a heroin victim.

Tonight's discussion aimed to bring an understanding of addiction in efforts to eliminate the stigma associated with it.

"Once an addict always an addict is not, true," said Richard Ellis, a recovering addict.

A message that was one of the focal points of the discussion tonight.

"This could happen to anybody," said Stringfeild.

The panel was a joint effort between student and community groups... all trying to bring awareness to this crisis.

"It is an epidemic, and more and more lives are being taken everyday and more and more families are being affected by this, " said Kat Gitchell, event organizer.

The open panel allowed participants to ask the important questions and gain an understanding so that they could lend a helping hand in the future.

"The best advice I could give someone, is don't pick up the first one, said Ellis

"We can resolve this problem in the community and in the world if we just take the initiative," said Gitchell