New concerns about heroin addiction in Western Washington

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SNOHOMISH — Over the past three years, Randy Pierce has spent many days talking to kids and parents and teachers, anyone who will listen, about the dangers of heroin and alcohol.

HeroinHe starts by showing them two documents; a medical examiner’s report and a certified death certificate.

“I tell them what it’s done to me and to my family and how it affects everyone around them,” said Pierce.

Pierce is so passionate because the documents were for his son, Corey, who died of a heroin overdose in 2010.

He was 11 days shy of his 19th birthday.

“Just loved life, just absolutely loved life, enjoyed it and had an adrenaline rush from everything,” Pierce said.

Heroin turned him into someone his family barely recognized.

“Physically it changes their appearance. They lie.  They lose weight. They steal.  They’ll do anything to get money to buy that drug,” Pierce said.

According to a recent study by the University of Washington, heroin was the drug of choice for 18- to 29-year-olds entering rehab in our state.

What’s worse, the number of people dying from overdose doubled in the last three years and no one is immune.

“This is middle class, soccer moms, high schoolers, athletes, that are falling into that trap, and I have kids in high school, as well, and it’s in the high schools,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew Barnes said.

Heroin is one of the cheapest drugs out there.

As little as $5 can keep a user high all day and it’s more pure and more potent than ever before.

It, and alcohol, is an extremely dangerous combination.

Experts say red flags for parents who suspect their child is in trouble include a change in behavior, friends, a change in appearance and appetite and a drop in grades.

“It’s not an easy road and I feel for all these parents who are going through it right now and I know what they are going through. I think of my son all the time and it’s hard to get through life,” Pierce said.

Experts say the rise in heroin use by young people can be attributed to the cheap price but also to new laws that have made it nearly impossible for kids to get prescription drugs like Oxycodone.

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