COLFAX, Iowa – The number of deadly heroin overdoses in Iowa has more than doubled since 2012 and experts fear that trend is only going to get worse.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, since 2009 deadly heroin overdoses have slowly increased. The largest increase was from 2012 when 8 people died compared to 2013 when 20 people died.
Recovering heroin addict, Jacob, remembers the feeling of getting high, “It`s a very euphoric body high,” and says he isn’t surprised by the numbers, “When that drug takes ahold of you, it’s really hard to get away from.”
Jacob has been sober for 7 months at Teen Challenge of the Midlands in Colfax. Prior to, his life was a completely different story.
“I just went wild and did way too much, collapsed and went unconscious. My little sister found me in my home unconscious and called 911.”
When Jacob overdosed he was living in Iowa City. Experts say heroin is hitting hardest on the eastern side of the state because it’s being transported from Chicago.
“I don`t know if I saw meth hardly at all in Iowa City but it seemed like just about everyone you run into knows someone who does heroin or can get you some in Iowa City.”
Teen Challenge of the Midlands Executive Director, Michael Hunsberger, says he’s seen a spike in men seeking treatment for the drug. Twenty of the 50 men enrolled in the rehab program are there because of heroin and the majority of them are young adults.
“In the beginning we very rarely saw a younger person addicted to heroin it was mostly the older gentlemen with 20, 30, 40 years of addiction but now that`s not the case.”
Drug counselors say the accessibility to prescription drugs is fueling heroin addiction. Leading them to believe heroin use will continue to be an issue. However despite the increase, methamphetamine remains the leading cause of drug-related death in Iowa.