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Heroin abuse on the rise on High Desert

By Kandra Kent
Published On: Apr 09 2014 08:43:48 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 10 2014 03:15:41 PM CDT

Increasing number of Central Oregonians seeking heroin addiction treatment reflects growing number of heroin addicts in both the nation and Oregon.

BEND, Ore. -

Reports from the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration show the number of heroin users in the U.S. has more than doubled in the last decade.

It's a trend reflected both in Oregon and in Central Oregon.

Officials at  Bend drug treatment facility Serenity Lane told NewsChannel 21 that they've definitely noticed more people in Bend struggling with heroin addiction.

Counselor Bob Snyder said Wednesday that the number of patients treated for heroin addiction has been steadily increasing over the last five years.

He said he especially has noticed more young adults struggling with dependency -- many under the age of 25.

Snyder said most of the addicts he treats start with problems with pain killers and then evolve from there.

"A lot get started with people who are taking pain pills or getting pain pills from their parents or other sources," Snyder said. "And when those get harder to get or unavailable they switch over to heroin which is easier to get and actually cheaper."

The Oregon Health Authority recently reported the number of people being treated for heroin addiction has steadily increased.

The state reports last year more than 7,500 Oregonians were in treatment for heroin abuse -- about 1.6 more than in 2012.

The report also found about 12 percent of heroin addicts seeking treatment were 25 years old or younger.

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