Heroin drug abuse on the rise
MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) - Heroin has quickly become the drug of choice. It is more accessible, stronger, and cheaper than other drugs. Alabama has some of the highest prescriptions per person for painkillers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Authorities believe some people addicted to painkillers chose heroin as an alternative.
"Heroin is a horrible, horrible drug," said former heroin addict Eric Ebbole.
For 10 years, Ebbole tried to break his heroin addiction.
"I was rationalizing and justifying my behavior and continued to use," said Ebbole, "not understanding the consequences."
Currently, he is drug free and helps other addicts.
According to the CDC, Alabama leads the country, prescribing 143 opioids per 100 people. Nearly 500, 000 Americans have become addicted to heroin as a result of opioid abuse.
"It's a huge problem," said Ebbole.
Lt. Rassie Smith works for the Mobile County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Division.
He said the majority of heroin comes from Mexico and is smuggled along Interstate 10 and Interstate 65.
"So, we fight that through our interdiction unit, and our units that work the interstate and things of that nature and try to stop that the spread of the drug as it's being interdicted to our communities," said Smith.
Lt. Smith said users combine opioids: heroin and fentanyl.
"It very quickly affects the central nervous system, and some of the highs is a lot more magnified compared to other drugs," said Smith.
Ebbole said temporary highs have lasting effects.
"I would say, count the cost of what you're walking off into," said Ebbole. "It's a lifelong struggle that you're going to have to deal with rest of your life."