Young suburban heroin users - part 2 of series - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Young suburban heroin users - part 2 of series

Posted: Updated:

Parents can overlook a lot. A teenager who smokes a joint, pops a pill, drinks a little too much is just experimenting. In over-the-mountain communities, there isn't much of a drug problem!

That kind of thinking can kill your child. The drug flowing through the veins of many young men and women in affluent communities in this area is not alcohol but heroin. Ninety percent of the heroin users in this community are from white, well-to-do families. Their drug of choice leads to many of them dying.

Hoover police chief Nick Derzis said, "We really haven't seen heroin affecting our high school students that we know of. But, here is the bottom line. It's in the community. If it's in the community and it's not in the high school yet, it will be."

Shelby county sheriff Chris Curry doesn't believe that heroin is actually on a school campus in his community, but, he quickly adds, "I do know it is in the high school environment."

DEA assistant special agent in charge Clay Morris warns there is little time to stop the rise in heroin use.  "we absolutely have to get the word out through community organization, or civil organizations, or churches, faith-based communities and the school district because if we don't have a problem in the school districts, I assure you a problem is right around the corner."

Heroin, a drug of the 60s, has come back more potent, more powerful than ever. Its newest target is teenagers and young people in their 20s who don't realize what they are up against.

Morris says,"what we are seeing is a shift from what people would think is a traditional chronic heroin user ...That is an inner city user...to what we are now seeing today is a young, suburban user." Morris has investigated heroin operations across the United States. He says this area right now is at critical mass for heroin overdose deaths. "There is not really one community in the Jefferson/Shelby county areas that have not been touched by an overdose death this past year."

A young female heroin addict explains how easy it is to get a bag of heroin. She says, "everybody knows to go to certain spots Everybody knows those spots and they are there. They are waiting for you. Everybody knows the same phone numbers. You call those numbers; they tell you where to go. It's easy. It's very easy."

The users know the code words such as "sugar," "dog food, " and "smack" and they've go to have it.  A male addict admitted, "I would steal from my family...steal from my friends. I would steal from drug dealers that I knew were selling it just because that's all you are worried about. You are not worried about the repercussions of what you're doing. You're worried about that high."

Chasing that next high is what the addict lives for. The need for more and more heroin grows; so does the cost of the addiction to society. Hoover police chief Derzis recalls a recent rash of burglaries. "The last one that hit us pretty hard...the one in Bluff Park, Vestavia, kicking in doors was a heroin addict that needed the fix. That was stealing whatever he could steal during the day, selling it and getting money for the fix that night and back at it the next day."

Many reading this will deny that heroin could ever be a problem in their family. Sheriff Curry warns, "you've just identified the conversation that always happens. No, my child wasn't doing heroin. They don't want to talk about it. They don't want to admit it. Even if they suspect it in the death, they don't want to say those words."

Area law enforcement wants to shout this message to every parent. Jefferson county sheriff Lt. Mike Davis says "they need to intervene quickly. They need to intervene intensely. It is a life or death struggle. They shouldn't think someone is going to grow out of this."

@

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Girl who was struck by plane that crashed on Florida beach dies

    Girl who was struck by plane that crashed on Florida beach dies

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:44 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:44:39 GMT
    A 9-year-old girl who was struck by a plane that crash-landed on a beach while she vacationed with her family has died from her injuries, law enforcement officials in Florida said Tuesday.More >>
    A 9-year-old girl who was struck by a plane that crash-landed on a beach while she vacationed with her family has died from her injuries, law enforcement officials in Florida said Tuesday.
    More >>
  • Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule, scores killed

    Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule, scores killed

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:42 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:42:06 GMT
    Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the militant group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that Palestinian officials said shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the war so far.More >>
    Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the militant group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that Palestinian officials said shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the war so far.
    More >>
  • Employees File Lawsuit Against Huntsville Space and Rocket Center

    Employees File Lawsuit Against Huntsville Space and Rocket Center

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:33 AM EDT2014-07-29 11:33:03 GMT
     Three employees of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville have files a lawsuit, saying that the center forced them to work state holidays.More >>
     Three employees of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville have files a lawsuit, saying that the center forced them to work state holidays.
    More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Children flee Pinson home as man breaks in Monday morning

    Children flee Pinson home as man breaks in Monday morning

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:44 PM EDT2014-07-29 16:44:31 GMT
    Around 11:30 Monday morning deputies responded to a report of a burglary in progress at a home in the 5200block of Highland Trace Circle in Pinson. A 14 year old girl and her 9 year old brother were home alone when a manthey did not know began breaking in to their house. They called their mother and she contacted the Sheriff's Office.The children ran from the home to a neighbor's residence.Deputies arrived to see 50 year old William Robert Thomas of Birmingham climbing out of a window. Upon s...More >>
    Around 11:30 Monday morning deputies responded to a report of a burglary in progress at a home in the 5200block of Highland Trace Circle in Pinson. A 14 year old girl and her 9 year old brother were home alone when a manthey did not know began breaking in to their house. They called their mother and she contacted the Sheriff's Office.The children ran from the home to a neighbor's residence.Deputies arrived to see 50 year old William Robert Thomas of Birmingham climbing out of a window. Upon s...More >>
  • Woman who was set on fire by boyfriend dies, detectives seeking capital murder charges

    Woman who was set on fire by boyfriend dies, detectives seeking capital murder charges

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:22 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:22:44 GMT
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says 49 year old Deborah Diane Prater died early Tuesday morning. She's been hospitalized since Sunday with extensive burns. Her ex-boyfriend is accused of setting her on fire and may now face capital murder charges.More >>
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says 49 year old Deborah Diane Prater died early Tuesday morning. She's been hospitalized since Sunday with extensive burns. Her ex-boyfriend is accused of setting her on fire and may now face capital murder charges.More >>
  • Homewood City Council denies hotel an extension to continue operating

    Homewood City Council denies hotel an extension to continue operating

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:11 AM EDT2014-07-29 13:11:45 GMT
    A Homewood hotel plagued by problems must close by the end of the week. City leaders considered an extension for America's Best Value Inn and Suites, but denied the request.More >>
    A Homewood hotel plagued by problems must close by the end of the week. City leaders considered an extension for America's Best Value Inn and Suites, but denied the request.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...