Heroin use continues to rise after crack down on pills

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Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 10:08 pm | Updated: 10:59 am, Thu Jan 16, 2014.

SARASOTA-- The state of Florida is succeeding in it's war on pain clinics and prescription drug abuse, but with that comes a price.

Abusers are now turning toward other drugs, especially heroin.

At 25-years old, John is trying to rebuild his life. His drug addiction landed him at the First Step Rehab Center in Sarasota.

"I originally had started doing pills. When prescriptions became available, they had hit the street. All the kids loved them. I tried them and fell in love with them," said John, who did not want to disclose his last name.

Then came the state-wide crack down. It became harder and harder for John to find and buy pills. The few made available by the drug dealer on the corner sold for astronomical prices. So, John had to find an alternative.

"That's when heroin became a big thing," said John.

Injecting it, smoking it, you name it. Heroin is the new drug of choice in Florida.

"That's what everyone is doing right now," said John.

It's true says Paul Sutton.

"We have seen some heroin deaths and heroin addiction. It just shows it's a complex problem, that just changing one thing doesn't solve the problem," Sutton said.

"Sutton knows the streets better than most. He's a former Chief Deputy with the Sarasota Police Department, who now heads up the Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse.

"If people are substituting heroin and formerly used prescription drugs illegally, they have not made a safe choice. Its dangerous, illegal and deaths are still occurring. Sobriety is the only long term solution," said Sutton.

Back at first step, John has finally come to that realization, and plans to stick it out no matter how difficult it may be.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • RSK posted at 2:05 am on Fri, Jan 24, 2014.

    RSK Posts: 1

    I am an addict who has recovered. When I was using, I was terrified to get sick. Every previous time I tried to get clean, I wanted it each time but after detoxing my head would go a hundred miles an hour. I would get tired of the sleepless nights, I felt I had to use again to turn my head off. The cycle starts again. I reached a point I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired. Drugs will always, always be available on the streets, you can't stop it no matter what and addicts will always find another avenue or substitute. We should take that money used to fight drugs and use it for better treatment centers and provide places for anyone seeking to get help from addiction, has a place to go regardless of income or insurance. I was fortunate to have gone to a 30 day program. I do believe treatment did help get me clean, but there isn't a treatment center on this planet that will keep us clean. Follow up support after treatment is needed if you want to remain drug free and have a new life. I am truly free and no longer worry about using and I can go anywhere on this earth and stay clean.

  • Tomlin822 posted at 12:08 am on Thu, Jan 16, 2014.

    Tomlin822 Posts: 1

    As a former addict I wouldn't wish the pain and suffering caused by addiction on anyone. It's a self-built cage that slowly causes everyone close to you to pity and hate you at the same time. The buzz becomes merely the pain going away. For a while I was convinced I couldn't beat it, but it depends on how bad you want it. I decided to invest in a great inpatient program at harbor village to get clean, which I'm proud to say has left me drug free. The following number can be used to see if they have any special packages tailored for you or a loved one: 888-839-4208. My heart goes out to those still fighting their addiction. Be strong.


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