Local

Heroin: From Prescription To Addiction (Part 1)

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420x316-grad-blake1 Mary Blake
Mary Blake is an award-winning reporter and anchor who joined WBZ News...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Drug overdose fatalities have climbed dramatically in Massachusetts.

In Brockton alone, there have been 125 overdoses treated by emergency responders since January.

That’s nearly double the number last year.

Read More: Heroin From Prescription To Addiction

Looking at the heroin epidemic reveals a picture of drug addiction that may not match what many people think. It is much more than an inner-city problem.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mary Blake reports

Heroin, Prescription Opiate Addiction Hits Mass. Hard

WBZ NewsRadio 1030

Drug addiction doesn’t discriminate by class or geography. Massachusetts has been hit particularly hard with a problem that ruins lives, fuels crime and leaves a trail of death.

The numbers associated with what Gov. Deval Patrick has labeled an epidemic are alarming.

“Between 1999 and 2012 overdoses from prescription opiates quadrupled,” Patrick said.

State Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett cited troubling numbers about an addiction that sometimes starts with legitimate prescription use.

“They say about 23 percent of people that use an opiate will go on to have an opiate addiction,” Bartlett said.

Fall River native Chris Herren, a former NBA guard and recovering addict, pointed out that addiction affects more than the addict.

“If there are 25, 30 million Americans (with an addiction) that means there’s 120 million family members and it’s a very quiet group for 120 million strong.”

But their voices are getting louder, not only due to the numbers, but the shift in demographics.

Ashland Police Chief Craig Davis notes that heroin addiction is no longer just an inner-city problem. “This is striking at the heart of suburbs and it’s tearing families apart and its destroying young people’s lives,” he said.

Davis said not one addict ever thought that he or she would go down the heroin path.

“They may first start along the road of addiction to a legitimate prescription that they may have got from a knee injury, a sports injury, stemming from a sports injury but in very short time they find themselves addicted to these powerful painkillers,” Davis explained. “And now with the opiates being harder and harder to find, heroin has sort of filled that void because heroin is so cheap and plentiful.”

And for addicts trying to break the habit, the struggle seems endless

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