She lost two of her sons to overdose tonight.

by apfotos / 25 April 2016 / No Comments

By Zachary Siege

“I lost two of my sons to overdose tonight. Pray for our family and for peace for my sons. I will never again be the same.”

A mother who dedicated herself to “waging a war against heroin” lost two of her sons to heroin overdose within hours of each other on the same night.

On April 10, Vicki Allendorf, executive director of the national non-profit organization I Hate Heroin, revealed the sad news on the group’sFacebook page: “[I Hate Heroin] will be shut down for the next week. I lost two of my sons to overdose tonight. Pray for our family and for peace for my sons. I will never again be the same.”

Allendorf is an activist based in Dubuque, Iowa, which, like the rest of the Rust Belt, has seen stunning rates of fatal heroin poisonings. After federal crackdowns cut the supply of prescription painkillers across Iowa last year, many users are turning to heroin.

“There is simply a heroin problem in Dubuque,” Dubuque Police Lt. Scott Baxter, toldABC 9 in light of what happened to Allendorf’s sons. “And it’s possible that it’s stronger than others. Depending on where [the heroin] originated, where they manufactured it, what they did to it after they obtained it, before they sold it.”

The problem has grown so desperate in Iowa that last month, the Iowa Senate voted unanimously to expand the accessibility of the overdose reversal drug naloxone. Even though Allendorf praised the naloxone bill, she says the system of treatment for substance use disorders is broken. “Our system is amazingly broken,” she told her local ABC station, “and my sons slipped through the cracks on many, many, many occasions. Our system failure is killing kids.”

Allendorf continued with poignant words: “We have no standard of care for addiction treatment like other chronic progressive and fatal diseases. This must change or we’re going to continue to lose our loved ones.” Allendorf also told ABC that her sons, 31-year-old Zachary McPoland and 27-year-old Terry McPoland, were not bad kids trying to be good, but were sick and trying to get well. She said her sons were beautiful, amazing people, and very much loved by everyone.

Though Allendorf’s activism took a grim turn, the response to her Facebook status uniquely spotlights how the country is coming together. There were over 8,400 comments under that status alone. Many of the commenters are strangers to Allendorf, but expressed their condolences and shared in their collective grief.

Sue Greene, a friend of Allendorf’s who has also dealt with addiction, says sometimes knowledge just isn’t enough. “She did all the right things, she had everything lined up, she had the resources, she’s been an advocate, and it still happened to her sons, and that in itself is really scary.”

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for the Zach and Terry Memorial Fund and has already raised nearly $28,000.

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