Recovering addicts talk heroin addiction - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Recovering addicts talk heroin addiction

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The consequences of substance abuse are back in the spotlight.

Over the weekend, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York apartment from an apparent heroin overdose, but its not just Hollywood that has a heroin problem.

Nearly twice the amount of people in the US are addicted to heroin now than in 2002.

KSFY News spoke with two recovering addicts who both say it took over their lives because it was all they could think about and getting clean was one of the hardest things they've done.

"I got addicted when I was about 19. It started, obviously, with pain pills, Vicodin, things like that, then it just progressed. Because they weren't doing it for me. So I got heroin. It's cheaper, it's stronger," said Andre.

He has been struggling with addiction for about five years.

He said nothing else matters when you are addicted, "Your friends, your family your job, nothing like that. It's just debilitating. Once your hooked it has you.

It is not just the high that keeps people hooked.

"The withdrawal off heroin too. It's horrific, it's terrible. That leads people to keep using too because they don't want to face that."

Heroin does not discriminate. It can get a hold of anyone at any time.

"I was addicted to heroin when I was in my 30's and I'm close to 60 now." Said Julia.

It took her 12 years to get clean.

She said she was addicted after the first time she shot up, "You always want that first feeling that you got because it's like your first love. And so that's what your chasing."

After years of addiction, Julia and Andre are now clean.

They go to Sioux Falls Treatment Center for meetings and Methadone doses, which blocks the opiate receptors in their brain from craving heroin.

"That was important to me because people didn't really care if I lived or died. Then for me to go to the clinic everyday and for them to see me, because then I knew that I made it one day, which was important to me."

Andre says the best thing you can do if you know someone is having problems is to call a treatment center.

He says just being there for the person can help them.

Having a support system is what kept him going.

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