BOSTON (CBS) – The profile of drug addicts in Massachusetts has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. The most notable is that users are young; on average between 15 and 25.

“I was eleven years old when I started drinking alcohol, thirteen started that pot, fifteen… pills, twenty-one started turning into heroin and crack cocaine,” Tommy Lee Goddard said. “I always denied it so I would never touch and eventually it got me.”

Read More: Heroin From Prescription To Addiction

Tommy Lee Goddard, serving jail time for breaking and entering, was happy to be out in the rain doing path clearing work as part of Worcester County Jail’s community service program. Not only had he thought he was immune to addiction—when on heroin, he would have sworn he was in full control.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mary Blake reports

“I had no control whatsoever, you know what I mean? It took me places I’ve never thought I would go and made me do things I never thought I would do, so you know, it’s horrible. I definitely don’t want to go back to it,” Goddard said.

Anthony Casteldi also thought he had the upper hand. He now works at Independence Academy in Brockton—one of the state’s four alternative high schools – a fifth now being planned for Worcester. A recent graduate, Anthony describes Independence Academy as a lifeline after he got hooked at Brockton Public High School, just a block away.

“I wanted to fit in. I wanted to feel part of the group and from there it just spiraled downwards. Once I tried opiates for the first time, it went nowhere but down from there,” Casteldi said.

Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter worked hard to get Independence Academy open.

“I honestly believe that if we can intervene earlier with kids that are ready to make a decision to change their path that we have a chance to save their life right now,” Mayor Carpenter said. “I want to save their life here in their school, not injecting them with Narcan 15 years from now.”

Carpenter says drugs don’t discriminate. He has personal knowledge. One of his sons struggles with addiction.

“I think everyone knows someone who’s touched by addiction, yet, it’s not talked about,” he says.



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