WILMINGTON -- Wilmington police are worried about a dramatic spike in fatal heroin overdoses. There have been three in the city the last two months. The parents of a woman who died of a heroin overdose say the drug problem here has been in crisis mode for years. In 2004 Keith and Rachel Thompson lost their daughter Blair to heroin two days before Christmas. The Thompsons have since worked to raise awareness about the dangers of the drug and say there are three things the area needs to do to really crack down on the use of heroin. One is to educate children and parents about the drug, two, get stricter laws against drug dealers and get treatment facilities in the area which are easily accessible to users who want help. Rachel Thompson said, "They get so desperate, there's no where to go, they just go out and do more drugs, commit a hundred crimes, they're filling up our jails, 85 percent of people in jail are all drug related." Keith Thompson said, "We're just a city that is having a drug problem but we could be the city that decides to do something about it. That's where we need to be." The Thompsons are working with New Hanover County commissioners to try and get a drug rehabilitation center built near the jail. That facility is in the very early stages of discussion right now. Woman overcomes addiction One local young lady has overcome her addiction to heroin, but not before coming close to death on numerous occasions. Kathy is a former heroin user. She said, "I've lost everything I've ever had ten times over because of my addiction." Kathy doesn't want to show her face or use her real name. She's a 23 year old woman who began using heroin at the age of 19. She became addicted the first time she tried the drug. "I was doing anything I could do get high, I was stealing from my family, robbing myself of every dream I ever had," Kathy said. After two years of abusing her body Kathy had been to the Oaks, tri-county detox and the ER. Kathy decided to get help from a privately funded rehab center. "Finally I woke up one day and I was so tired of being sick and tired," Kathy said. She's been clean for two years now but worries about other people like her who are still struggling with their addiction. Kathy said, "If you use in Wilmington and you get help in Wilmington, then you're just going to meet more people to get high with or you're going to meet new people to get it from." Kathy says the reason heroin abuse has become such a problem over the years is the lack of affordable rehabilitation centers in our area. "There needs to be more awareness, there needs to be more state funded facilities for the people who want help, who need help." Statistics show 98 percent of people who try heroin become addicted. One Wilmington couple who lost their daughter to a heroin overdose in 2004 is working with county commissioners to try and get a state funded rehab center built near the New Hanover County jail. That project is only in the early stage of development at this point.
For more info: Wilmington Treatment Center www.wilmtreatment.com (910) 762-2727 Accredited Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Center of Firs (910) 762-7173 Drug Treatment Center (910) 259-4230