DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — Drug experts say more and more people are turning to using heroin across the Mid-South as it becomes cheaper and more easily available.
Over 200 people had heroin-related deaths last year in the state of Mississippi, and DeSoto County now leads the state for the highest number of heroin overdoses.
Out of college and contributing to society, Reid Ware said those around him had no idea what was really going on in his life.
“I worked at a hospital for years and I was high every day.”
High on heroin — something he never would’ve expected when he was a kid.
“Heroin was a junkie drug,” he said. “It was one people did under bridges with syringes.”
But after he was prescribed prescription medication, his addiction to pills quickly spiraled into an addiction to heroin at 26 years old.
“It sent me down a dark, dark path and it changed me into a person that I didn’t recognize when I looked in the mirror.”
He’s now recovering at the Turning Point Recovery Center in Southaven.
“We see everyone from the 18-year-old honor student to the 50-year-old CEO,” said Gerald Lang, interim CEO at Turning Point.
Lang says heroin has become more common of a drug than many are willing to admit, especially for teenagers.
“We’re definitely seeing a rise with the younger population; I think it’s becoming more available,” said Lang. “They know about it.”
Which is why he says it’s so important for parents and community members to spread awareness on the realities of the drug and how quickly it can tear families apart.
“It became my only friend, and it was a fleeting friend,” said Ware.
Organizations like “Wings of Hope” and “NFusion” are now trying to combat the heroin epidemic while educating and helping people in DeSoto County.
“They need as much support as any other group in the area,” said Ware.
Because he knows all too well, the drug doesn’t discriminate.
The ultimate message all these people wanted to end with is to not give up on people suffering from addiction.
Many of these new groups are raising funds and hosting activities for those affected by heroin.