A killer in our midst

It began with a few police logs printed on our inside pages.
 Then we published a couple of front page stories that caused people to pause before turning the page.
 Enterprise managing editor Steve Damish thought he saw a pattern emerging from the stories and started to write about it in his column. He talked to some distraught parents. Then some more. Police weighed in here and there.
 Criminal justice reporter Maureen Boyle, accustomed to delving into some nasty business in the course of her daily work, began talking to her law enforcement sources about the proliferation of cheap heroin and other opiates. The drugs were showing up in towns that rarely saw more than high school drinking binges geared to social events.
 Damish and Boyle dug deeper, searched records, heard stories and shared heartrending conversations with people whose sweet suburban lives had been devastated by the kind of drug abuse most of us pass off as an urban scourge or a by-product of hopeless poverty.
 Photo editor Craig Murray began his audio-visual chronicle of the seemingly endless graveside vigil of one young overdose victim, and became enmeshed in a months-long encounter with the sights and sounds of this devastation's aftermath.
 Many more in our newsroom gathered information, edited materials, built our Web site's special report and pulled together to help shine a strong light on this dark, and dangerous issue.
 The irrefutable statistics - the social, emotional and economic impact of opiate addiction in our suburbs - are facts most communities seem unable to acknowledge.
 But it is deadly. It is growing. And it is here.
 Today, The Enterprise begins an in-depth, four-day examination of the insidious scourge that is killing off some of the best and most promising of our new generation.
 We are supplementing our newspaper report with extensive online information, slide shows, audio visual reports and resource materials for everyone affected by addiction.
 We are committed not only to reporting this story today and this week, but to working with our communities to find solutions through awareness, education and civic action.
 We will continue to report on the problem, and on the ways that schools, organizations and individuals are attacking it.
 And we want to hear from you. Please give us your views, ideas and concerns and we'll share them with others who are looking for ways to help save a generation from killing itself.

Chazy Dowaliby