Any mother who loses a child to the heroin epidemic experiences unimaginable tragedy. One mother in particular dedicated herself to waging a war against heroin yet still lost two sons to an overdose within hours of one another on the same night. Learn more about her story.
Vicki Allendorf runs a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families coping with the heroin crisis. Allendorf is an activist based in Dubuque, Iowa which has seen skyrocketing rates of fatal heroin overdoses and poisonings. Federal crackdowns on prescription painkillers across the state saw people turning towards heroin. Many factors play into how and why a person overdoses, including the fact the drug is not as pure as it used to be, currently laced with other drugs with no idea where or how it is manufactured before it hits the streets.
The drug Naloxone is one way people are combatting the rise in heroin overdoses. The overdose reversal drug was voted for expansion across Iowa but Allendorf recognizes treatment for substance use disorders is a broken system. She feels her sons slipped through the cracks multiple times before their lives were taken away. Even with the advent of Naloxone, it is not always enough to save someone in that instance, or in the future, from abusing heroin.
Allendorf reflects back on her two sons, age 31 and 27 years old, who were not bad kids, they were simply sick from battling heroin addiction and desperately wanted to get well. She enjoyed the time she had with her sons, both the ups and the downs. Many people rallied together in support of Allendorf following the deaths of her two sons. Even strangers were commenting on the organization’s website to share their stories, comments and support for her struggles. Sometimes, Allendorf believes, knowledge is not enough. Even when a person does all the right things, everything lines up and resources are available, it can still happen to anyone. The real tragedy is in the loss of her two sons and yet she vows to fight on for those who are still struggling. The epidemic is not going away and, apparently, neither is Allendorf.
The Villa provides support and resources for families struggling with heroin addiction, among other substance use disorders. We believe in providing the best individualized treatment programs for people who need help. Call us to find out how to get started.