The Tartan

Heroin in Our Backyard

Posted on: October 2, 2017
Tags: Challenge day
Dan Horn

by Alli Auel

Most of the students at Oak Hills High School are unaware of how severe the heroin epidemic has become in the Cincinnati area. For Challenge Day, which focused on global health, Oak Hills invited writer and reporter Dan Horn, from the Cincinnati Enquirer, to inform some OHHS students on how severe the heroin epidemic has become and how close it is to their doorsteps.

Starting in July 2017, reporter Dan Horn, as well as 60 other Cincinnati Enquirer reporters, traveled all over the Cincinnati area to uncover the raw and disturbing lives of heroin users.

Horn and his reporter’s goal was to show people what seven days of the heroin epidemic looks like in the Cincinnati area and how serious it has become.

Traveling to places relevant to Oak Hills Students, such as Rapid Run Park and the Covedale Library, Horn and his fellow reporters met, saw, and learned about the lives of heroin addicts and their families. “I have talked to and interviewed dozens of people daily. It’s impossible to count how many addicts I have met with and interviewed,” said Horn.

Sadly, most stories uncovered by Horn and his reporters, about heroin addicted individuals, did not have a happy ending. Horn explained many deadly stories about everyday, normal individuals, who have overdosed on heroin, to students, that him and his fellow writers followed. Each person’s story was unique, but they all had one thing in common: heroin.

One story told by Horn resonated with students significantly. The story revolved around a 28 year-old woman. For years of her life she was hooked on heroin, but while using, she became pregnant. After finding out she was pregnant, she strived to stay free of drugs so she could provide the best life she could for her baby. After giving birth and staying clean, Horn explained how he met with the woman at her baby’s doctor’s appointment. The woman explained to Horn how she is going to stay clean for her baby. Joylessly, Horn announced that ten days after meeting with the women, he had found out she had relapsed, overdosed, and died, sending her baby to live with her parents.

Despite what people may think, many stories end up like the 28 year-old woman’s, Horn explained. Also, many stories unfold closer to student’s homes than they think. Horn told students about overdoes that have happened in Rapid Run Park, right down the street from Rapid Run Middle School, and heroin drug deals going down in Mt. Echo park, where many OHHS students take pictures for homecoming and prom.

The goal of Horn’s presentation was to show students how universal the heroin epidemic has become. He wanted to show students that “it is not just a downtown problem,” that the heroin epidemic is happening everywhere. Because of Horn, many more OHHS students are educated on the heroin epidemic.