Tyler, TX (KETK) — The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman has the country mourning the loss of a great actor. Meanwhile, it also has the nation talking about the growing problem of heroin use.
Reports are showing Hoffman was found with a needle in his arm, along with 50 bags of heroin and 20 used syringes in his apartment. Unfortunately, this type of heroin use is a growing problem here in East Texas. Experts are calling heroin use an epidemic.
KETK spoke with Dr. Neil Adelman from the Add-Life Recovery Center, who said, "For heroin overdose, it has only one direction. And that's death". In the last decade, heroin users have more than doubled. In 2002 there were only 91,000 reported users, versus 178,000 in 2012.
Chad Esch from the Drug Enforcement Administration in Tyler said, "We've seen an increase in heroin coming into East Texas. Obviously the majority of the heroin coming into the country is coming from Mexico". Esch says prescription pills are the most widely abused drugs in East Texas, but since they are closely monitored, people are switching to heroin. Esch explains, "Because those are opiate based, a lot of people are moving forward into heroin as well, because it's cheaper and easier to get if they can't get access to prescription pills".
Another East Texas trend over the last 3 years, is the group more commonly using this drug. According to Dr. Adelman, the group using heroin most commonly, are those over 45 years of age. Adelman said, "What's interesting is the age group we're seeing is much older than what the public would generally think that's using heroin. We're seeing people who are 50, 55, and even 60 years of age using heroin now". The add-life recovery center in Tyler alone treats 178 patients, and that number only continues to grow.
Adelman gave warning signs for those who suspect a loved one may be using this deadly drug. Those behavior patterns may be;
- Reclusive behavior
- Not interacting regularly with the rest of the family
- Missing work
- Missing money or bank accounts suddenly depleted.
The old days of looking for needle marks is no longer as common as it once was, since today heroin is frequently being smoked. If immediate help is needed always call 911, but if you are seeking help, visit: http://www.addliferecoverycentertyler.com/index.html  .