Feedback: Hooked On Heroin

Tools

Amanda was 15 years old when she first tried heroin.

"If somebody had a bag of dope and they're like, 'If you shoot this bag there's a 50 percent chance, it could even be an 80 percent chance you're going to die, 99 percent chance. There's still that one percent chance I might not die. I'm going to do it," she said.

The reason Amanda felt that way when she was hooked on heroin - the drug is just too addictive.

"It's probably one of the most powerful opiates and one of the more addictive opiates," said Bill Bowman of the Alcohol & Substance Abuse Council of Jefferson County.

In fact, Bowman calls heroin the most popular opiate that's leading to an increasing number of overdoses.

When an overdose does occur, there's a tool to help.

It's called Narcan.

"It is a lifesaving tool. If you have somebody who's gone unresponsive, the next thing that's going to happen is they're going to stop breathing," said Dave Sherman of Guilfoyle Ambulance.

Unless an emergency medical technician can get to them with Narcan first.

A spray in each nostril and they could become responsive again.

It's a tool the New York State Legislature is taking a hard look at.

"I think there is a concern by many of my colleagues that there is a growing drug problem and something that we need to continue to monitor," said state Senator Patty Ritchie (R. - 48th District).

Narcan could have saved Amanda's brother's life.

He overdosed when he was 21.

Amanda has been in and out of jail over the last decade and has tried every rehab tool in the book.

"Prison just doesn't, the judge, the DA, probation, it just doesn't, when you want to get high you're going to get high," said Amanda.

To get clean, you have to truly want it. That's what Amanda says and she does want it.

She hasn't done heroin since April 2012 with the help of drug court.

"Drug court is totally a blessing for people. It's an alternative to going to prison," said Amanda

The court requires Amanda to call in each morning at 8.

She has to attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings and go to court every other Thursday.

She's not required to speak out openly, but she does anyway to her family, to schools and to kids who she doesn't want to go down the path she did.

And she loves it when they hear what she says. She wants to alter their future. She doesn't know what's in hers.

"I'm confident that I do not want to get high again. Right now, today, I'm adamant that I don't want ever to have heroin in my life again," she said.

But Amanda says she's not naive and she has seen people fall off the wagon before.

That reality scares her.

She's battling through the fear to make sure she doesn't fall back into heroin's addictive grip again.

See part 1

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Thursday, September 18, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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