Heroin addiction is a national crisis. This 50-state problem has brought devastating consequences for individuals, families, regional economies, and the American healthcare system.
In recent years, heroin use increased among many demographic groups and income levels. Between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled in some demographic categories. At one point, mortality rates were higher in the Northeast and Midwest than other regions of the country for some age groups, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Discs Against Heroin is a group of disc golfers who are reaching out to let their community know that there is help available for heroin addiction. A Facebook page and an information booth that travels to disc golf events throughout New Hampshire and other states were created.
The booth provides state-approved pamphlets and resources, including those for the “New Hampshire Alcohol and Drug Treatment Locator.” The goal is to educate and raise awareness. In addition to providing approved resources to those who need them, the campaign seeks to highlight the severity of this public health problem without stigmatizing or disgracing its victims.
As an incentive for visiting the booth, disc golf memorabilia are given away through a free raffle. Past items included autographed discs from top professional players, bags, and new discs.
The disc golf community may be a valuable partner in the fight against heroin addiction. Like the population of disc golfers, the victims of heroin come from a wide range of demographic backgrounds. Local disc golf clubs, leagues and organizations also represent communities who care passionately about their members and the surrounding community.
Disc golf groups have proven to be successful in contesting other social problem. From efforts to combat hunger to suicide prevention campaigns, disc golfers have shown a willingness and an ability to help solve society’s hard-to-talk-about problems.
If you would be willing to help, please contact us through the Discs Against Heroin Facebook page. While we are in the early stages of this initiative, we believe sports have a valuable role to play in resolving the heroin crisis.
By the end of the first year, we will have visited several regions of New Hampshire and Southern Maine and received thousands of Facebook views. Into 2018, we hope to continue to build the concept, and we are open to ideas and invitations.
The author of this article, Adam Snavely, is the founder of Discs Against Heroin. He works as a physician in New Hampshire with prior recognition for compassion and community service.
Parked is underwritten in part by a grant from the Professional Disc Golf Association.