LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A drug that was commonly found in bigger cities has made its way to Deep East Texas. In the last five years, the flow of heroin throughout our area has grown rapidly.
"Probably in the last six months we've noticed a pretty significant change in that issue," Phyllis Grandgeorge, Alcohol Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas executive director said.
Experts at Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas or ADAC has seen an increase of people looking for help with their addiction to heroin. One reason for their addiction is the easy access.
"In the past they could get maybe a 90 day prescription of vicodin, hydrocodone or pills such as that," Grandgeorge said. "But now they can't get a 90 day supply they've limited that supply to thirty days. You can't find those pills on the street, and what happens is they are going from that addiction to heroin."
Experts think the increase is driven by people who substitute the drug for painkillers. Grandgeorge said people who are on heroin don't feel pain for a short amount of time.
"The high maybe three, four or fifteen minutes at max," Grandgeorge said. "The withdrawal maybe six to eight hours, achy body, runny nose, just a sick feeling all day long. that's why the addiction kicks in so rapidly, because you don't want to have those negative side effects in your body."
One of the many reasons that number has grown so much is due to the different ways people can get high off the drug.
"For that person that's not going to use needles they stay away from heroin now they can use it," Grandgeorge said.
Now heroin can be snorted, smoked, or done the old fashion way with a needle. The different ways of getting high off the drug comes at a price.
"Unfortunately we are also hearing a lot of deaths with heroin. I'm not sure what they are adding to the heroin but it is becoming a deadly combination," Keith Smith, ADAC counselor said.
Smith said the best advice to avoid all of this is by getting help.
"Get help, don't mess with it because it can end your life," Smith said.
If you know someone who is suffering from addiction she urges you call ADAC's toll free number at 1-800-445-8562.