Mom Accused of Injecting Daughter With Heroin Highlights Growing Epidemic

heroinMost parents would never even consider buying a six-pack of beer for their teens, so the idea of a mother injecting her own 14-year-old daughter with heroin is almost impossible to fathom. Unfortunately, that's exactly what one Philadelphia mom is being accused of doing, and her actions should serve as a wake-up call regarding the severity of the current heroin epidemic.

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According to prosecutors, 34-year-old Jessica Lynn Riffey provided her daughter and a 16-year-old boy with heroin multiple times in September and allegedly even helped them to shoot up. Her boyfriend, meanwhile, is also being accused of getting heroin for the teens (apparently to snort). The family was reportedly living in a trailer with "numerous" other people who were also using heroin. Riffey is currently in jail in lieu of $50,000 pending a preliminary hearing Friday. She's being charged with drug delivery, corruption of minors, and endangering the welfare of children. 

More from The Stir: Man Gives 14-Year-Old Sister Heroin to 'Protect' Her

It's a horrible, bleak story, and certainly what Riffey did isn't going to win her any Mother of the Year awards anytime soon. But the point of telling this story isn't to point out this woman's failings as a mother. The point of telling this story is to bring attention to how devastating heroin addiction truly is, and how it's reaching epidemic proportions. A government study released in 2014 showed that fatal heroin overdoses doubled in just two years. It's worth noting, though, that there are still more fatal overdoses from prescription painkillers; in fact, some experts think the spike in heroin-related deaths might be due in part to the fact that people already addicted to painkillers have started switching to heroin, which can actually be cheaper and more readily available than prescription opiates.

Whatever the reason for the rise in heroin use, it's definitely a problem, and one we need to be talking about with our kids. There are plenty of documentaries out there to help get the conversation started -- cue up Chasing It, or the Kurt Cobain film Montage of Heck. Then talk about how heroin destroys lives -- and how it steals them, in the blink of an eye. It could be the most important discussion you ever have.

 

Image via Andres Rodriguez/Flickr

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