Stopping The Scourge Of Heroin On Delmarva: Part 1 - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Stopping The Scourge Of Heroin On Delmarva: Part 1

WMDT 47 NEWS - Heroin abuse is an escalating issue on Delmarva, a reflection of what's happening all over the country.

"This is a horrific drug," states Beau Oglesby, State's Attorney for Worcester County, Maryland. "It's something that destroys your life, the lives of your family, it affects your entire community."

Oglesby invited WMDT to a roundtable meeting with state prosecutors, health experts, law makers, narcotics officers and undercover detectives to warn the public about this scourge on local communities and to explain where it's coming from...prescription drug abuse.

Assistant State's Attorney, Ajene Turnbull, prosecutes felony narcotics cases in Worcester County, "You always hear the story of, you know, 'I had a legitimate injury. I had a legitimate issue. I learned about another doctor. I began getting other pills, and then once those pills became unavailable, I moved to heroin."

Tracy Simpson, coordinator of the Worcester County Drug Court Program, tells WMDT, "I've never worked with a person, yet, that started with heroin, that has a heroin addiction. They have all started with some prescription medication and it has led them down this path."

Simpson tells us she sees about 80 people cycle through the program each year. On average, 65 percent of those people are addicted to opioids, like painkillers and heroin. But a percentage of their most recent clients shows that number escalated to 83 percent, and the majority of those people are now heroin addicts. "Really understanding what prescription drugs do, how addictive they are," stresses Simpson, "I think those messages need to come more. So that parents and kids, and everyone knows how quickly you can move from taking a prescription opiate, to end up intravenously using heroin."

But the current problem of heroin abuse is apparently much worse than originally thought because more of the addicts being arrested for using and dealing this drug are young adults.

 In Part 2 of this special report, WMDT explores the reasons our teens are getting sucked into this type of drug abuse and why it's changing the face of drug distribution in our country.

Healing The Heroin Epidemic

WMDT's Emily Lampa goes inside the growing heroin epidemic. She gets an exclusive looks at what lawmakers and law enforcement officials are doing to stop the problem.

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