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Heroin abuse prevalent in the Triangle

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Heroin may be much more prevalent than you think, not just in Hollywood, but here in the Triangle.

Overdoses of the drug are blamed on several celebrity deaths, most recently, Cory Monteith, a star of the hit show Glee.

"In North Carolina, opiate use seems to be quite significant," explained Tony Porrett, Clinical Director at First Steps Services in Raleigh.

Experts say opiates including heroin are quickly becoming the drug of choice.

"15 years ago it used to be crack cocaine, today were seeing opiate dependents as being the number one drug of preference for people seeking treatment," said Porrett.

He says most heroin addictions start out as prescription drug abuse.

"Then when they're no longer able to obtain pain killers, then the heroin is the next option," explained Porrett.

He says it doesn't take long for users chasing the high to get addicted, and when heroin is mixed with alcohol it has what's called synergistic effects, greatly increasing the drugs effect on the body.

This can often leads to respiratory failure

A deadly combination that medical experts say killed Glee star Monteith.

Porrett says getting the word out about the help that's available, may end up saving a life.

Jonathan Rodriguez

Jonathan Rodriguez is an investigative reporter and member of the WNCN Investigates team. His storytelling specialty is connecting the dots to get to the truth, with a goal of delivering results for our community. If you have something you’d like WNCN to investigate, contact Jonathan.

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