Updated: 02/04/2014 12:30 AM
Created: 02/04/2014 12:04 AM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams
The number of people struggling with heroin addiction in our community is on the rise. So where can you go if a family member needs help fighting an addiction to heroin?
We spoke with a woman currently undergoing treatment through Unity Health, for heroin addiction.
This is one of three chemical dependency programs run by Unity. Between the three they handled about 135,000 visits last year. The programs are geared for a variety of people and can handle all addictions. It's a program that's giving Michelle hope.
Michelle says she was drinking 5 beers a day and snorting 5 bags of heroin when she checked herself into the Greece Chemical Dependency Inpatient Unit. She just couldn't go another day living as she had been.
“It’s not easy, it's not easy. I’ve been battling addiction for many years. Finally I’ve come to the realization that I can't do it any more, I just can't,” Michelle.
She says she started smoking pot to fit in with friends in high school. That opened the door to alcohol, then pain pills, and finally heroin. She wishes she had never had a taste of heroin.
“It’s not the best thing in the world for anybody. We know that putting it into our bodies and we know that, but it's a body (sic) nummer. It will numb you and you think it’s the medicine you think you need. Once you start after three days, and you start, once it's in your system and you don't have it you started getting sick,” said Michelle.
That's why she checked into this inpatient unit. This time she says she ready to get well. Tony Klein manages Unity's Chemical Dependency Clinic in Brighton. He says heroin use is on the rise. He says it's more readily available than ever before. In just two years he says its use has increase about 8 percent, and he says heroin is much more dangerous than other drugs.
“We not only seeing an increase in the use of heroin, it’s starting to happen among younger people teens and young adults are more and more users of heroin, starting out primarily with prescription pain medication that’s being misused then it moves into the use of heroin,” said Klein.
But Klein says there is help. Like Michelle, he says if someone wants to get clean, there are a host of local programs, but he says there are some fundamentals that lead to long-term sobriety.
“Recovery and change is a very difficult process to maintain it. It is something that regardless of your position in life is fundamental,” said Klein.
The Greece Chemical Dependency Inpatient Unit is a 36 bed facility for men and women.
You can learn more by calling 723-7740.
Michelle said, if there is anything parents can learn from her story, it’s to learn tough love. She said when she committed a crime against her mother, she pressed charges that landed her in jail and she was clean for 9 months. That’s the longest she's ever been clean.