Heroin abuse top killer in Oregon, rising among teens

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by Abbey Gibb, KGW Reporter

KREM.com

Posted on November 12, 2013 at 7:26 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 7:40 AM

PORTLAND -- Heroin has become the deadliest drug in Oregon, killing one person every three days.

Police say they've seen it in every high school, with addicts as young as 13 years old. Meanwhile, users say parents are dangerously unaware of the seriousness of the problem.

Brennan Street knows first-hand. He was hooked on heroin for four years.

"It completely takes over you. You don’t have dreams. You don’t have ambitions. You just have your heroin," said Brennan.

"I was doing three grams a day -- that’s a $300 a day habit -- and I wasn't even getting high anymore, I was just maintaining," said Brennan, now 21 years old.

Brennan said he started like most teens do, with Oxycontin at high school parties.

"All the kids were doing it. Back then, it wasn't too expensive. Now it's ridiculously priced. That's why everyone switched to heroin and lately I've been seeing people start as young as 13 years old."

This summer, his desperate parents hunted him down in Vancouver.

"He came out, he lost 20-30 pounds, he was bluish-white, he might as well have been a corpse," said Brennan's mother, Marie Street.

"He almost had a relieved look on his face," said Tim Street, Brennan's father. "His dad and I looked at him and we said, 'Is this enough now?'" added Marie.

It was and still is. With the help of his family, he's been clean ever since.

"How can you throw away a child?" asked Tim, holding back tears. "It's not something you can do."

Some parents never get that chance. Heroin took the life of Terry Hurd's 24-year-old son Adam.

"There isn't a day goes by I don't think about it," said Hurd.  

"He was going to be a good kid, he never liked smoking, wouldn't even drink."

But things changed when Adam graduated from high school.

"He started on oxy and was on that for years, he went to rehab at least three times," Hurd said.

Oxy led to heroin and then, on Oct. 24, 2012, Adam was at a family BBQ at his father's house.

"He had the heroin delivered to the house, just like a pizza."

Terry went back inside the house to check on his son. It was too late.

"He's sitting on the toilet, hunched over, passed out and there's a needle sitting on the counter. Yeah, he was my best friend," Hurd said behind his tears, "Yep, can't replace him."

Friends and families of people struggling with heroin addiction can find help through support groups, including Learn 2 Cope

More: Oregon Drug Treatment Providers Directory

 

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