COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Actor Phillip Seymour’s cause of death is raising concerns across the country. The 46-year-old actor was found dead Sunday with a needle in his arm and at least 50 bags of heroin, along with used syringes. Columbus Community Counselor Crystal Parker says Heroin use is steadily climbing across the country.
” I think this has brought it back to the spotlight. We saw a 100% increase in Heroin use, from 2007 to 2012. So that should scare us and let us know this is becoming a really big problem.
The reason for the surge: America’s crackdown on prescription drug use. Heroin an easier and cheaper alternative.
“People that were formally pain pill addicts are turning to Heroin as a cheaper high. It releases a surge of pleasure and euphoria. It’s similar to kind of taking a garden hose and you plug it up and you have all that water building and then you release it and there’s just a surge of pleasure. That is actually what the Heroin addict will actually feel when they result to heroin. The problem with that is after you do that for so long, the tolerance will start to develop and your body will start to get physically dependent on it,” said Parker.
Heroin is also deadlier. Unlike prescription pills, dealers mix dangerous toxins and chemicals before selling them.
“The heroin you are getting is actually not a pure heroin. It’s diluted, diluted, diluted to be sold on the street. Therefore when you inject it, you really have no idea what you’re putting into your body, other than the fact someone told you it was heroin or it looks like heroin,” said Archie Williams, Commander of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department’s Narcotics Unit.
Law enforcement say it’s an epidemic that can’t seem to disappear.
“The state has actually seen an influx of heroin over the past year or two that I know of. Here in Columbus and Lowndes County we’ve actually been very fortunate and have not seen that yet, but we are getting information that it is coming however, and we’re doing what we can to combat it from now,” said Williams.
Commander Archie Williams tells us the addiction is so strong that 1st or 2nd time users have a 25 percent chance of actually becoming an addict. According to a 2011 study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 4.2 million Americans over the age of 11 tried heroin at least once in their life.