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Viewpoint: We can't afford to feel, do nothing

This is third in a series of viewpoints about the heroin and opioid crisis sweeping local communities. Read part 1 and part 2

There are a lot of new tracks in Red Wing lately, and they are leading nowhere fast.

These are not railroad tracks, but they are hitting our community like a freight train. These tracks are needle tracks, and they are the unmistakable signs of heroin addiction.

Heroin is on our streets and we need to do everything in our power to stop it. It's a cheap high, about the cost of a pack of cigarettes, but it's one of the fastest ways known to watch your future go up in smoke.

The pushers are taking a lot of prisoners in this new drug war breaking out amongst us. Heroin addicts are always at the front lines pushing addiction because of their own terrible fear of withdrawal. It is a truly dangerous situation, made worse by synthetic opioids.

So, what can we do for people who have lost their way? Odds are that hard core heroin addicts eventually will either die or go to jail for what it takes to get a fix. People need to know beforehand that even if their future doesn't seem very bright right now, that future will close up completely when a needle gets stuck into it.

People in despair need our help before heroin addiction. Also, we need to stop the freight train of drugs from laying down any more tracks on people's arms. We need those arms to join hands against this terrible public health crisis.

There was another heroin outbreak in Minnesota in the 1980s when lots of heroin was also available. Alarmed and concerned citizens along with law enforcement stepped up to educate the public about the dangers of the white powder street to nowhere. It worked then, and it can work now.

Opioids are not just pain killers. They are pain, and they are killers. Pain for family and loved ones who get broken down by the neglect caused by addiction. Killers because feeling no pain means feeling nothing ... including your heart stopping.