Heroin on the rise in Savannah - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Heroin on the rise in Savannah

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The overdose death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman sparked the question: Is heroin use becoming a growing trend around the country?

According to experts like Frank Barker, the CEO and Clinical Director of Recovery Place, it is. It's now the number one cause of medication death around the U.S.

"Deaths in the emegency room, last year 60,000 deaths were associated with opiate overdose, meaning heroin, oxycontin, and all those drugs," said Barker.

According to Barker, Savannah has seen its share of deadly results from heroin.

Metro Police's Counter Narcotics Team said they made 22 heroin arrests last year, seizing more than 120 grams of heroin. That's triple the amount from 2012.

"Savannah used to be number one for cocaine," said Barker.

But, with the growth of heroin, that's no longer the case.

Barker says heroin use is growing because people are having a harder time getting their hands on prescription drugs like Oxycontin, so they turn to heroin for their opiate fix. Heroin is also cheaper than prescription pain killers.

"Oxycontin can cost $40, $60, or $80 bucks for a shot, but heroin's about $20 a bag," said Barker.

For those who are addicted to the drug, Barker said it may make you feel good in the moment, but, "You can't just keep using, you will sooner or later have an overdose."

According to Barker, people who are not adicted to drugs or alcohol are also susceptible to becoming addicted to medication with opiates in them, which are usually pain medication. He said it's very important that people only take the amount that is prescribed.

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