Heroin addiction rising in teens - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

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Heroin addiction rising in teens

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Heroin use is becoming a growing epidemic in many states, but the problem is hidden in many communities.

"I think a lot of people are blind to the fact of what it really is," said an addict.

Sergeant Gross of Perrysburg Township, Ohio said the epidemic is the number one problem for his department right now.

"I think law enforcement has already realized the heroin is problem here, it's people that don't see it and don't think that it could happen there; they don't think that it could happen with their kids, or their brother or sister or whatever it may be," said Gross.

According to a government study, heroin use among teenagers is up 80 percent in the last 10 years.

Jeff Streeter is a chemical dependency counselor in Toledo, Ohio. Streeter said teenagers are walking through his doors more frequently than ever.

"We want to make sure people are aware and their eyes are open instead of just with the blinders on, and not focusing on what's going on around them," said Streeter.

The Toledo Police Department said they seized about $400,000 worth of heroin in 2011. In 2012, they seized more than $1.36 million worth of the drug.

The Lucas County Coroner said in 2011 they had 47 deaths because of heroin and opiates. By mid-2012, they had already seen 32 cases - an increase of 36 percent.

The drug is so powerful that people will do anything to get money to buy drugs. Police say heroine is causing crime that hits innocent victims.

Sgt. Gross said there is an increase in property crime because of heroin in Perrysburg Township. The increase is even larger than the increase due to crack cocaine years ago.

"The last dozen or so retail theft people that we've arrested, probably 70 percent of those people are addicted to heroin," said Gross. "It's just an ongoing cycle that doesn't seem to be coming to an end any time soon."

Law enforcement is trying to stop the cycle, but agree it will require help. People in the area must realize there is a problem, try to deal with the problem and help those already in the clutches of this drug.

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