Recovering addicts, families combat heroin epidemic - WNEM TV 5

Recovering addicts, families combat heroin epidemic

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
MIDLAND, MI (WNEM) -

Heroin addiction is a serious problem in Mid-Michigan with no signs of improvement.

Local people came together on Thursday to discuss ways to combat the life-threatening epidemic.

Each morning Terry and Susan Hanley do a search for their son's killer. They said almost every day they find news articles of other victims that takes them back to their worst day.

"Knowing what we know four years later, I just wish we could know what we know just to help, help him," Susan Hanley said.

Their son Zack Spaulding died from a heroin overdose four years ago. He was 27.

"He just decided one night to do it again and that was the last chance that he had," Terry Hanley said.

Far too many heroin victims across Mid-Michigan are taking a chance chasing the high and dying.

On Thursday there wasn't an empty seat in the auditorium at Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in Midland. The Hanleys joined other victims' families and experts to talk about the issues and ways to end the heroin epidemic.

"We're actually treating more people for opiate dependency than we are for alcohol and that's a pretty significant issue," said Sam Price, with the Ten16 Recovery Network in Midland.

Price said struggling heroin victims and their families need more help. The message in the auditorium on Thursday was there is hope.

"It does get easier, but there will always be a struggle," said Alyssa Wood, recovering addict.

Wood was addicted to heroin for several years and is now a recovering addict. She said each day she is thankful she got help because five years ago her sister Ashley overdosed and died.

"That was my come to. You gotta get it together and that's when I realized and accepted I couldn't do it on my own," Wood said.

Price said there is no way to fix the epidemic over night, but for families like the Hanleys they hope their story leads to a desperate change.

"I'm hoping that it saves one. I'd be happy, but if we can save 10 to 15 it would be a world changer," Terry Hanley said.

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