Heroin, opioid abuse widespread - WNEM TV 5

Heroin, opioid abuse widespread

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Jennifer Booth doesn't take the time with her children for granted.

Because just 10 months ago, her kids came in distant second.

"I didn't want to be a mom anymore," Booth said.

She said she was poisoned by a heroin addiction.

"Whatever I had to, to not be sick," Booth said.

She has now been clean for 10 months, but the addiction for heroin has taken its toll on people across the state.

And on Thursday, experts came together to address it.

Assistant United States Attorney Lynn Helland said the problem is widespread.

"You start taking care of the problem, realistically, the problem is huge, and you can address it just a problem at a time," Helland said.

He said heroin is usually the drug people turn to after being hooked on prescription opioids, such as Oxycontin.

It's cheaper and easier to get.

But he said doctor's over-prescribing and pharmacists filling the prescriptions can be the source of the addiction.

And he said it needs to stop.

"I think the prescriptions are coming from doctors and those doctors prescribing irresponsibly need to be held accountable," Helland said.

He said better oversight is needed and doctors and pharmacists need to keep a closer eye on who's getting the drugs.

"I've never felt so soul-less. It literally takes every emotion out of you. You don't even feel like a human anymore," Booth said.

She said it's going to be a monumental task to keep people off the high.

"I mean it's everywhere, if they only knew," Booth said.

In 2013, more than 1,500 people died from heroin or opioid overdoses.

The experts said they know it'll take time, but the fight needs to start.

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