Heroin Initiative success story - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Heroin Initiative success story

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) -

Cuyahoga County is responding to skyrocketing drug problems with its Heroin Initiative.

A statistical comparison of heroin deaths in 2007 to 2011 easily underscores the dramatic rise in both the city and the suburbs. But it ignores the fact that the numbers reflect real people.

"I woke up in the hospital, they told me the kids were taken away, husband's in jail," said a recovering addict who wishes to remain anonymous.

There are all kinds of reasons that drive people to drugs. Mental, psychological and physical. Probably the most common reason was addition to heroin beginning with prescription pain medication. Some certainly believe the over prescribing of pain medication by well meaning health professionals.

"With that I started withdrawing afterwards and I had a friend that introduced me to heroin. I started snorting and and then probably two months later started shooting up," the addict told Reporter Paul Orlousky.

The story is a familiar one, but it has an unfamiliar ending. After she was busted, she didn't see her children for a month and worried about their care. Catholic Charities got her and her husband into treatment, and the county found a quality foster home for her kids.

"How important is that in your recovery?" asked Reporter Paul Orlousky.

"Most important thing because if I know their safe I can focus on myself," she replied.

She did just that and has been clean for nearly three years. She says it might have happened sooner, but child care always got in the way of treatment. She has a third child now and says the foster parents changed her life.

"They're amazing, they're amazing people both of them. I'm very good friends with the foster parents now, the kids still go there probably once a month for three days. I love them."

Maybe the county is on to something more effective than prison.

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