Heroin addiction up around the country, jumped significantly in last 10 years

By Patranya Bhoolsuwan | pbhoolsuwan@8newsnow.com

Published 02/11 2016 06:53PM

Updated 02/11 2016 07:39PM

A wave of heroin addiction is sweeping across the country.  It turns out the number of people getting hooked on the dangerous drug has jumped significantly over the last 10 years.

The face of a heroin addict has also changed.  Statistics show most users are younger, female, and white.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heroin use has more than doubled in the 18 to 25 age bracket.  Use among women went up 100 percent.  It's up 114 percent in whites.

Aly Blackmore said most of the people who knew her in high school in Henderson, would remember her as a happy student who loved her friends and volleyball.

But Blackmore said for years she has had a secret life fueled by an addiction to heroin.

"I was the type that would do anything if you handed it to me," Blackmore said.  "I was going to do it and 90 percent of the time it was heroin."

Blackmore said finding her fix was easy.

"We could walk out onto the street and find someone," Blackmore said.

Blackmore said her own mother, who's a nurse, initially didn't have a clue she was hooked on heroin.

"When everybody found out it was a big shock, nobody knew, nobody expected it," Blackmore said.

Dave Marlon, the founder of Solutions Recovery, says the old socio-economic stereotype when it comes to drugs like heroin no longer holds true.

"This is showing up in Green Valley, it's showing up in Summerlin, it's showing up downtown," Marlon said.  "The opiate epidemic is the number one health problem in our community."

Marlon says since his rehab facility opened in Las Vegas 10 years ago, more women and more teens have come through the facilities doors.

"I believe you can buy a $10 balloon of heroin in any school in the valley today," Marlon said.

Marlon says four out of five heroin users start with prescription drugs.  That's how 24-year-old Taylor Burnett's addiction started.

"Pretty much everything it touched, it messed up," Burnett said.

Burnett says he recently got clean at Solutions Recovery.  He said he got into drugs when she was just 11-years-old.

Burnett said he started with pot; then he moved on to pills before getting hooked on heroin.

"It was just a dark, dark time in my life," Burnett said.  "I don't want to go back to it."

"I went to seven funerals in 2015 and five of them were heroin related," Blackmore said.

Blackmore is now 21; she's married and the mother of a 7-month-old baby girl.  She credits her family for her new life free from addiction.

"Some of us have to die so that others could live," Blackmore said.  "It's a terrible way to look at it, but I am grateful that I made it out."

Heroin deaths in the U.S. have been up for three years in a row, and it's the number one killer of illegal drug users.  However, reports say painkillers kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined.

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