Heroin Use at All Time High

FEBRUARY 2, 2006 -- You'd sell your mother to get another bag. Heroin, for decades, has claimed the souls, the lifestyles, and even worse, the lives of people who crave that next fix. Heroin addicts will tell you the drug gives a sensation they find hard to explain.

"It's a complete warm feeling.  I'd use my legs, shoot up my leg, down my leg.  It is complete euphoria."

It's that euphoria that's enticing an alarming number of young people to experiment. What they don't know is one time can lead to an addiction.

Kenny House is Vice President of Clinical Services at Coastal Horizons Center.  He says the number of young people in New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick Counties trying heroin or pain killers like hydrocodone or oxycontin is startling. While marijuana use has actually gone down, opiate use has tripled.  House says almost one in ten teenagers have tried heroin or other opioids.

"It just blows me away, this generation and it scares me," says House.

Sue, as we'll call her to protect her identity, is a recovering heroin addict.  She says what scares her is that the teenagers shooting up heroin don't have any idea what they're injecting into their bodies.  That can lead to an overdose.  The blood pressure drops and a person passes out. Unless they're revived shortly, they'll slip into a coma and evenutally die.

Unfortunately, most people don't just outgrow heroin addiction. Without help, which usually involves medication therapy, addicts either end up in jail or dead.

Reported by Frances Weller