Help available for families with loved ones hooked on heroin
Local 4 experts take countless calls during Heroin: The Hidden Crisis phone bank
Heroin is an epidemic sweeping Metro Detroit from the city to every suburb.
The Local 4 Defenders and Dr. Frank McGeorge teamed up with a series of special reports on the drug and its impact on metro Detroit.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard recently held a town hall meeting to help alert parents to the problem.
"We wanted to tune in the community to the fact of the huge increase we are seeing in families from all walks of life and all communities. It has no boundaries at all. It's a equal opportunity destroyer," said Bouchard.
Troy District Judge Kirsten Nielsen Hartig told Local 4 kids are going to jail, and some are even dying because of their addiction to heroin.
"I saw kids that you never expect to be heroin addicts sitting in the jail box having been arrested for heroin possession or larceny related to heroin and I couldn't figure out why," said Hartig.
Many experts said the addiction often begins in the addict's homes when they take prescription pills prescribed by a doctor for pain.
Once those pills are gone, kids turn to heroin.
The drug often comes in from the Canadian border at $5 a spindle, experts said.
Bouchard said they are seeing more and more people getting in trouble because of heroin use.
"Our cases year to date are up 300 percent from last year," said Bouchard.
According to the Macomb County medical examiner, deaths from heroin were up nearly 30 percent in 2013.
William Transid is a recovering heroin addict who said he got his start after a sports injury in high school.
"I had a football injury and my doctor prescribed Vicodin. As a result of the prescription Vicodin, they took me to place I never thought it would take me," said Transid. "By the time I was 18, I was fully addicted to heroin."
Transid recalls the impact the drug had on his life.
"I can remember in the dorms, like being dope-sick (during) the finals of my first semester at school, and having to buy so much heroin to get through the studying of the finals that I bankrupted myself," said Transid.
Micheal Gessner, a recovering heroin addict, told Local 4 lots of kids don't want their parents or police to catch them with beer on their breath, so they take pills when they party.
"It started with prescription drugs at about the age of 18. That is the problem with this, it was more accessible then alcohol," said Gessner.
Nielsen Hartig said those addicted do whatever necessary to support their addiction.
"They're physically and psychologically addicted to the drug. Unless they recover they have to steal in order to support their habit," said Nielsen Hartig.
Experts from the Brighton Center for Recovery, Families Against Narcotics and Growth Works Incorporated took several calls from viewers during Local 4 News at 4, 5 and 6.
If you would like help, click the following links.
271 South Main Street
Plymouth MI 48170
50430 School House Road
Canton MI 48188
(734) 495-1722 (Youth Assistance)
(734) 495-1109 (Adult Chemical Dependency)
(734) 495-1722 (General Questions)
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Brighton, MI 48116-9969
General Information: 810-227-1211 or 888-215-2700
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