Lawmakers and families touched by heroin addiction hold forum

Posted at: 04/15/2014 4:36 PM
Updated at: 04/15/2014 5:36 PM
By: Rachel Spotts

Heroin abuse is being called an epidemic and something all parents need to be aware of. On Tuesday, families who have been personally touched by heroin addiction joined law enforcement and state lawmakers for a forum. The goal of the forum was to keep the discussion going and possible solutions coming.

At the forum, News10NBC heard from a mother whose son has been struggling with addiction for years. 

Lori, parent of recovering addict said, “He relapsed two months later, stayed clean then for fourteen months, relapsed again this past November, detoxed twice and issued a suicide note to his family on April 3, less than two weeks ago.”

The Monroe County Medical Examiner reports 65 people died from heroin in 2013, compared to 29 in 2012 and eleven in 2011. 

Senator Joe Robach said, “It's tragic, but they're not just numbers. They are from someone's family, co-workers, people in our community and we've got to get to them before they take that chance.”

Many users don’t believe their addicts because they say they don’t fit the stereotype.

Jessica Sherman, Face 2 Face Program Director, said, “There is a very strong stereotype about who a drug addict is. They are usually described as a man with frizzy hair and yellow teeth in a flannel shirt with a paper bag in his hand and he usually lives under a bridge.”

But the demographics are changing. Gone are the days when heroin was thought to be reserved for the hardcore user, now it's making its way into the hands of young adults, many of whom are middle class. Plus, it's cheap, really cheap. 

William Sanborn, Monroe County Undersheriff, said, “In our area today, the average 20mg OxyContin pill sold on the street is usually going between $30 and $50. Compare this cost to that of a deck of heroin, which costs about $10.”

The forum is one of twelve to be held across the state. Lawmakers, doctors, members of law enforcement and those who have been touched personally by drug abuse all came forward to share their story in hopes of raising awareness and sparking profound change.