LOSING TREY: A STORY OF ADDICTION – Flakka, Bath Salts, and Opioid pills

As they used to say on the TV police drama Dragnet, the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed. In this case, however, the pseudonyms are used to protect the survivors…and the memory of “Trey,” a young man in his mid-twenties who is no longer among the living.

“Trey,” a young man in his mid-twenties who is no longer among the living.
“Trey,” a young man in his mid-twenties who is no longer among the living.

We heard Trey’s story from his friend “Jonah,” who came to The Hope Center from his mid-western home state for help in recovering from a heroin addiction—the same addiction that had led to Trey’s death. It was the abrupt and unexpected end to Trey’s life that scared Jonah into seeking help.

Like Trey, Jonah was is in his mid-twenties. The two went to high school together. Their paths separated during their college years, but after graduation, they both returned to their hometown and their friendship with each other.

They also both started experimenting with drugs. Jonah says they dabbled in Flakka, Bath Salts, and Opioid pills before being introduced to, and seduced by, Heroin. The first taste of Heroin for both of them came at a party.

Trey had played football in high school and college, though he didn’t go on to the pros. Some of his old high school teammates invited him to a barbeque one Sunday afternoon, and he brought Jonah along. As the afternoon progressed, a pick-up football game got started: shirts vs skins. It was casual, just for fun, and even Jonah played, though he hadn’t been on the high school team. As dusk approached, and the game came to an end, three of the guys went on a beer run, and the party moved indoors.

Then one of the guys introduced a new “guest” to the party: Heroin.

Then one of the guys introduced a new “guest” to the party: Heroin.
Then one of the guys introduced a new “guest” to the party: Heroin.

Some of the guys indulged. Some didn’t. Neither Trey nor Jonah was a stranger to drugs, though neither had ever tried Heroin before. “There’s a first time for everything,” observed the party’s host as he passed the syringe over to Trey.

Both Trey and Jonah were immediately impressed with the effects of the drug. “Hey, where can I get more of this stuff?” Trey asked. And thus began a habit.

At first Trey and Jonah shot up only on weekends. Jonah had a sales job, while Trey was in management in an office, and both wanted to stay clean and straight during working hours, but heroin is seductive and addictive, and soon they both were using seven days a week.

Jonah didn’t like the effect heroin had on his abilities at work, but he was in the grips of something stronger than his willpower, and he gave in.

It was at another party that Trey met his end, and Jonah found the resolve to quit. Another of Trey’s old high school football teammates was hosting this one, and he also supplied the drugs. There was a smorgasbord of drugs to choose from, and Jonah decided to go for some Opioid pills, but Trey opted for Heroin.

The effects were quick—and deadly. At first, when Trey passed out, the host of the party recommended letting him “sleep it off.” But Jonah noticed that Trey’s breathing was shallow and at times seemed to stop altogether. He wanted to call the paramedics. The host, fearful of legal repercussions, leaned on Jonah to not make the call. By the time Jonah defied him and dialed 911, and the ambulance arrived, it was too late. Trey was gone. Dead from an overdose.

It had been an unusually strong batch of heroin…and Trey, who wanted nothing more than to feel good and enjoy his partying with his friends, lost his chance to ever feel good again…to ever feel anything again…to live.

As for Jonah, he was “scared straight” and, after checking out a number of treatment facilities intentionally far from home, decided on The Hope Center.

Hopefully he will never use again. But there are still plenty of people out there who are hooked on heroin. If you are, or someone you care about is, one of those people, get help now, before it’s too late…before you meet the same fate as Trey.

There is hope. That is why we are called The Hope Center. Reach out to us today. The time is always now.

Synthetic Drugs – A Deadly Trend

Over the course of the past several years, an increasing variety of synthetic drugs have become readily available to the general American public. The most common synthetic drugs on the market today are synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones (related to amphetamines). Both drugs can be purchased in legal retail outlets, frequently under guises such as “herbal incense” or “jewelry cleaner”. While only 2 varieties of synthetic cannabinoid were identified in 2009, that number jumped to a staggering 51 in 2012. In fact, synthetic drugs have rapidly become one of the biggest substance-related issues the nation as a whole currently faces. In 2012, 1 in 9 12th graders reported using synthetic marijuana in the past year, making it the 2nd most frequently abused drug amongst high school seniors after marijuana. Overall, synthetic drug use is far more prevalent amongst the younger portion of the population, and has proven to be a highly dangerous, often lethal trend.

Synthetic Marijuana

Known on the streets as “K2” or “Spice”, synthetic cannabinoids are marketed as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana. Chemical additives are combined with dried plant material, and said to produce a high similar to the high produced by THC (the main mind-altering chemical in marijuana). In fact, “Spice” is far more dangerous to consume, and has been linked to innumerable emergency room admittances and several deaths – while marijuana has been linked to no deaths and very few emergency room visits over the course of past decades. This drug is made with designer chemicals that are said to induce paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations. Those who frequently use synthetic cannabinoids claim they are highly addicting, and the consequences of using DRASTICALLY outweigh the benefits (of which there truly seem to be none).

Bath Salts

The side effects of prolonged (and even short-term) bath salt use are typically very similar to the effects produced by synthetic marijuana. Bath salts are sold as “jewelry cleaner” or “plant food”, and usually marked with a label reading “not for human consumption”. The exact chemical ingredients of the drug remain unknown, thus it is hard for the DEA to illegalize its compounds. The most common symptoms linked to the drug are hallucinations, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts and tendencies. There have been several highly publicized suicides completed by individuals within days of using bath salts, proving that mental distress can last beyond the wearing off of the hallucinogenic effects of the drug. It is unknown whether or not bath salts are addictive, though it is speculated that they are.

Designer synthetic drugs pose a major threat to society based on their highly toxic nature and their ready availability. Synthetic drugs have quickly proven far more dangerous than their imitated alternatives. If you or someone you love is battling an addiction to spice, bath salts, or any other variety of designer drug, seek help as quickly as possible – soon, it may be too late.