May 16, 2014 11:10 PM by Alex Labat

A Deadly Addiction: Heroin Use on the Rise in Acadiana

Heroin is a deadly drug that's on the rise in Lafayette. Before 2013, narcotics agents say they didn't have any reported cases of heroin. But in the first two months of this year, 22 grams were taken off the streets. It's in line with a national trend of a spike in heroin use among young adults. It's a spike of a cheap drug, that's fairly easy to get.

Many who use heroin end up losing so much. A 23 year old Lafayette man, who we'll call "Joel", has a story he wants to share. It's a warning to anyone headed down the dark path of drug abuse.

When asked if he feels if something drastic would have happened if he didn't stop using heroin, Joel says, "Definitely. If I kept using I probably could have died".

Joel adds, "I basically started using drugs when I was about 16. I was just smoking weed, then I moved onto Xanax and a handful of pills here and there. Probably when I turned 18, I started using Oxycontin a lot, and in the past year and a half I happened to find heroin and I moved on to doing that".

Experts say heroin is addictive for a number of reasons, with one of them being the price.

"I was spending almost $300 a day on prescription pain pills and heroin," says Joel.

But often, too strong of a dose can lead an addict to overdose.

Joel adds, "I would pass out on the floor for a couple hours. My friend would tell me that I was turning blue in the face. It was hard to breathe, stuff like that".

Melanie Courville, CEO of the Acadiana Addiction Center in Lafayette, treats addicts like Joel.

Courville says, "The outcome of heroin use and abuse, for many, is death. It's so alarming to see the number of young adults that are walking through these doors using heroin".

"If you continue to use, there's a good chance you'll wind up in jail or dead. The most I can say is there's an easier way. There's an easier way," says Joel.

If you suspect someone you know might have a substance abuse problem, the Acadiana Addiction Center offers a wide variety of treatments and rehabilitation with both inpatient and outpatient programs. Visit or call 233-1111 for information.



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