SPECIAL REPORT: Recovery Road - heroin addiction
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Meet Bobby Boursew, a recovering heroin addict who has learned the tricks of the trade from the two people closest to him.
Boursew began smoking pot and drinking alcohol at the age of 12. After a few years, the high he was getting wasn't enough.
But when an accident allowed him to get pain medication from a doctor, it wasn't long before his history of addiction took over.
"I got addicted to opiates, I got a prescription from a doctor after a car accident and that's why I started my opiate use. After I got kicked out of almost every doctor who would take me for trying to scam them out of pain pills, I tried heroin for the first time. It was pretty much all downhill from there."
"Oh heroin - it was like a warm hug; it was a feeling I had been looking for my entire life and I finally found it," he added.
While many people have a predisposition on people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, the trend is becoming more common.
"It's cheaper than pain medication and you know, we have this idea in our heads that heroin addicts are the homeless people on the corner begging for money. It's your coworkers; it's a 19-year-old kid who was in a car accident and got prescribed pain pills and now they can't find them anymore."
As pain centers across Louisiana continue to close, Frank Miller of New Beginnings Addiction Center believes more and more people will turn to the deadly drug.
"Some people have true, chronic pain - and for those people, they need and they take their prescription as prescribed. Some people use pain management centers as a way to get prescription drugs…that they may not have needed."
A year ago, New Beginnings had zero heroin addicts at the facility - now, 25 percent of patients who are in treatment in Lake Charles are there due to heroin
"A lot of it is - they're justifying in their minds that the substance out today is not as dangerous - and it's cheap; it's dirt cheap; it's $5 a bag," Miller said.
But then users hit rock bottom.
Miller said the use of heroin will continue to rise. It's already taken thousands of lives in the United States - and Southwest Louisiana is following suit.
"People are OD'ing. People are dying. It's an epidemic - and Southwest Louisiana hasn't seen near the amount as other places, but it's coming," he said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, heroin use among young adults more than doubled in the last 10 years - nearly half of users were also addicted to prescription pain pills.
With only 5 percent of heroin addicts staying sober, the odds are against Boursew, but he's determined to beat them.
"Life has turned around 180 degrees - I wouldn't change my life for anything," he said.
A bill to reduce opiod addiction is currently making it's way through the Louisiana Legislature. The senate's health and welfare committee mandates that doctors and other medical practitioners check a statewide database before prescribing a drug to a patient.
The goal is to ensure that patients don't double dip or get more drug than they should, opening the door for abuse
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