Devon Kennerson has been off heroin for a few months now.
The 30-year-old Litchfield resident said she had her first taste of the drug when she was 19. She didn’t know what it was then, Kennerson said, as her friend had told her it was cocaine.
By then, Kennerson had been smoking cigarettes and marijuana for five years.
Allison and Amber are recovering heroin addicts, both receiving treatment at the Midwestern Connecticut Council of Alcoholism, MCCA, and both wished to remain anonymous to share their stories.
Allison, 45, started using heroin at the age of 20, but was introduced to marijuana at 12, and the addiction progressed rather quickly. Amber, 28, said she started doping on prescription pills at 22 and progressed to heroin at 24, because it was cheaper.
“I didn’t give much thought to things when I did them. I like the way it made me feel,” Allison said.
The drug culture is changing. According to the Coalition Against Drug Abuse, teenagers make up the largest group of drug users in the country. A national survey on drug use and health by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed the rate of current illicit drug use among persons aged 12 or older increased from 8.1 percent in 2008 to 9.2 percent in 2012. The number of heroin users almost doubled from 2007 (373,000) to 2012 (669,000).
Death from heroin overdoses has surpassed motor vehicle fatality in 2008 in the U.S., according to Connecticut’s state narcotic taskforce. Heroin or opiates have become the top drug threat to New England. State Police Lt. Kenneth Cain, of the Statewide Narcotics Task Force, said most people start their heroin addiction on prescription pills.
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