Alexis Neiers (VICE) asked :
Why is there a large-scale heroin epidemic among young people in North America?
Dr. Gabor Maté replied:
Heroin is a painkiller. It’s actually the strongest pain reliever that we have, and it relieves emotional pain as much as physical pain. So the real question is not why is there a heroin epidemic, but why is there so much pain amongst young people today? And that has to do with two factors: one is that a lot of young people are traumatized and abused in childhood, and another is that lot of other people that are indirectly abused are still not getting their emotional needs met. Their parents are too busy, too stressed, too distracted, too depressed, too overwhelmed themselves to give them what they need. So children grow up with a sense of emotional lack and emptiness, fear, and distress. Heroin partially soothes that pain and that distress.