Addiction recovery center Cumberland Heights is seeing more heroin addicts than ever before.
"Today I see more heroin addicts in the course of week than I had in my entire career, until about five years ago. It's so prevalent, it is so common and these are not people that you would ever dream are addicted to heroin. The stereotype of heroin is long gone," Chapman Sledge, Chief Medical Officer at Cumberland Heights explains to Nashville's News 2.
There are three reasons Sledge hears consistently from patients for their addiction.
"Number one it's easier to get. Number two, it's cheaper and number three, it's stronger than the prescription opiates that are available these days."
The white-powder opioid is highly addictive whether you smoke it, snort it or shoot it. The addiction often starts with pain pills.
"It doesn't start out as an expensive habit, it's relatively cheap. The problem is that you begin to build a tolerance so what starts as a cheap habit, becomes expensive quickly. I started off snorting it and gradually, as I built a tolerance, I moved to intravenous because I heard you could get more bang for your buck that way," former heroin addict Billy explained.
Billy says the good news is that there is help; there is a way to recover before another life is lost.
"My life has significantly improved. I went from being a heroin addict who had nothing to live for to a respected member in society. I am currently enrolled in school, I own my own home, I got married this past October and where I came from to where I am today is absolutely as a result of my recovery from my addiction."
For information on Cumberland Heights, visit their Web site.