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.

The Real Story on New Hampshire Heroin

New Hampshire has been at the forefront of US headlines illustrating the efforts to fight America’s heroin epidemic. It’s not because they have the most overdose deaths amongst the other US states. It’s because their legislation is doing an incredible job, arguably better than any other state’s, at exploiting the issue and proposing and appointing measures to help combat the struggle with the growing epidemic Continue reading The Real Story on New Hampshire Heroin

Heroin Hits Massachusetts Hard in Wake of Highest Overdose Deaths In History

As we probe states across the country that have been hit particularly hard with today’s modern heroin epidemic, one leads the way on many fronts: Massachusetts. In highlighting some of the more recent headlines, we hope to reveal the devastating, and crippling effects heroin, and other illicit drugs, are having on the residents and small towns in the commonwealth state, as well as to share what they are doing about the situation to help those affected. Continue reading Heroin Hits Massachusetts Hard in Wake of Highest Overdose Deaths In History

Heroin Epidemic in New Jersey

In recent years, a rapid increase in the use, distribution and fatalities linked to heroin have skyrocketed. In a several-part series, we are taking a closer look into the emergence of areas labeled “Herointowns”, which are popping up across the country. These typically suburban and rural areas have, in the past, lay dormant to inflated drug use and activity – or were unnoticed until recently. Continue reading Heroin Epidemic in New Jersey

The Changing Face of Heroin Addicts

As the world becomes increasingly connected, as the internet becomes an increasingly important part of everyone’s daily life, the typical heroin addict is changing.

Now don’t get me wrong, I doubt the internet is the main reason the demographic of heroin addicts is changing, but I do think it plays a part. as information about heroin, painkillers, and other drugs is spread across the web, more and more nontraditional addicts are born.

The massive gentrification of American society, and the resulting massive wealth gap, also plays a part. I’m speaking from personal experience here. Growing up in a typical, boring suburban town made the allure of drugs all the greater. And no drug had a greater allure than heroin.

Of course, there’s a difference between me and many other people – I’m an addict and alcoholic. I tried anything and everything to change the way I felt. Of all the chemicals I tried, opioids did the best job.

So no, the internet and an increasingly gentrified society aren’t to blame for the recent spike in heroin addiction, but they do play a role.

What Makes a Heroin Addict?

As recently as ten to fifteen years ago, heroin addicts were thought of as homeless, mentally ill, disheveled individuals. They were all assumed to live under bridge and panhandle for money. They were assumed to be violent, or at best unstable, and beyond aid.

Today, that stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth. Today’s heroin addicts are largely middle class kids in their twenties and thirties. To put it another way, the millennial generation might as well be called the heroin generation. Sound a bit over the top? Well it isn’t.

Consider that among eighteen to twenty-six year olds heroin is one of the only drugs that’s increasing in use. It’s one of the most popular drugs, behind only marijuana, painkillers, and spice (synthetic cannabis).

Consider that today’s heroin is so pure users don’t need to inject it. In years past, heroin was under 10% pure. This meant the only way for heroin addicts to really “feel” the drug was via injection. With today’s heroin being around 50% pure, new users can simply snort or smoke the drug. This decreases the taboo associated with the drug and leads potential users to try it.

Of course, there’s another factor that influences potential heroin users. I’m talking, of course, about famous heroin addicts.

Famous Heroin Addicts

Heroin has a mystique of hipness around it. This is due in no small part to the many famous heroin addicts who have abused the drug. Smart, creative, attractive, and influential people have all contributed to the “sexiness” of heroin.

Don’t believe me? Think I’m making a bit of a stretch? Google “famous heroin addicts” and see what pops up. More to the point, consider that an entire fashion movement sprang up around the emaciated look common to heroin users. It was called heroin chic.

So, who are these famous heroin addicts? Well, they range from rock stars to actors to writers and beyond. Jim Morrison, William Burroughs, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday, and Chris Farley all had one thing in common. They were all heroin addicts.

Their creativity was often attributed to their opioid use. This, in turn, led heroin to be thought of as some sort of artistic muse. It’s a misconception that persists to this day. I’m sure the myth of the famous heroin addict has also played a part in heroin’s booming popularity.

How to Help the New Heroin Addict

Okay, heroin is popular. That point has been driven home by this article and, more importantly, by a generation of heroin addicts. So, how can we help the “new” heroin user? How can we offer hope to those who so desperately need it?

The answer is actually rather simple. We let heroin addicts know that recovery is possible. That’s it, nothing more and nothing less.

Treatment centers need to be more than simply havens for those struggling with substance abuse. They need to be institutes in every sense of the word. They need to shout from the mountaintops that sobriety is possible for everyone.

Individuals who have successfully kicked their addiction also need to speak up. I’ll use myself as an example. I’m an individual in long-term recovery and I take every opportunity offered to make that fact known. I don’t walk around town with a sign over my head, but I don’t shy away from mentioning my past if it’ll help someone else.

With treatment centers offering a message of recovery, and with sober individuals living a message of recovery, change can’t help but come. It’s that simple my friends. I promise.


We are proud to feature this guest blog post by Fiona Stockard. Fiona has been in recovery for over 5 years and now works at a Florida addiction rehab, helping addicts recover each day by delivering her message of strength and hope.

Heroin Overdose Deaths on the Rise

From 2010 to 2011, the nation experienced its largest increase in heroin-related overdose deaths, climbing a drastic 45% in a one-year timespan. From 2010 to 2012, the number of overdose-related deaths caused by prescription opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone dropped from 6 to 5.6 deaths per 100,000 people after quadrupling from 1999 to 2010. This slight decrease is opiate painkiller overdose may very well be attributed to increased prevalence of heroin abuse, and increased heroin abuse seems to be directly linked with previous years of narcotic opioid dependency. In a recent study conducted on heroin abusers in treatment for addiction, 75% reported having initially used prescription painkillers, claiming they eventually made the switch to heroin because it was more available, affordable, and potent than opioid prescription drugs. In complete contrast to this current trend, 80% of those that were abusing heroin in the 1960s immediately began using the drug without any distinct gateway.

Heroin Overdose Deaths on the Rise

The increasingly common transition from pharmaceutical painkillers to heroin is only partially responsible for the drastic increase in heroin overdose deaths. A major component of climbing overdose rates is the incorporation of highly injurious substances such as fentanyl and rat poison into currently circulating strains. Dealers will cut heroin with dangerous chemicals to reduce their costs and increase profit while either oblivious to or (more likely) ignoring the fact that the drugs they are selling will more likely than not kill the user on impact. Fentanyl, a painkiller that has been found to be around 100 times more powerful than morphine, is responsible for overdose deaths across the East Coast, devastating regions in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Maryland, and Rhode Island significantly.

Increase in Heroin Deaths is Preventable

Since the dramatic climb in overdose-related deaths directly linked to heroin in 2010, the annual rates of mortality have remained somewhat stagnant. Major efforts are being made to raise awareness and prevent heroin abuse by limiting the accessibility of opioid narcotic painkillers. Prescription pill “take back” events are now being hosted in cities nationwide, allowing citizens the opportunity to safely dispose of unused and expired prescriptions at local drop-box locations. In order to find a safe disposal site near you, simply search “prescription take-back” and the city in which you reside. Talk to your children about the newly emerging dangers of heroin use, and if you or someone you love shows signs of drug addiction, call one of our trained representatives today in order to explore a comprehensive list of treatment options.

New Heroin Vaccine Holds the Cure for Addiction

After literal decades of intense work on developing a vaccine for heroin, chemist Kim Janda of the Scripps Research Institute has finally come exceptionally close. Numerous clinical trials of the vaccine on rats have proven that regardless of how much heroin they are injected with, the vaccine completely counteracts all symptoms of relapse and addiction. While studies have not yet been held on human subjects, the results thus far are exceedingly promising. In fact, the eventual release of this vaccine into society could affect the nation as a whole – ultimately saving quadrillions of dollars on healthcare costs. Interestingly enough, however, this is where the issue lies.

Chemist Discovers the Cure for Heroin Addiction

Pharmaceutical companies will never willingly invest in a vaccine that could potentially eliminate heroin addiction throughout the United States. Drug addiction is by far the most profitable enterprise for the American pharmaceutical corporation, bringing in billions of dollars annually. Not only do drugs like Suboxone and methadone thrive based on the continuation of widespread cases of chemical dependency, but the co-occurring disorders diagnosed by high-paid psychiatrists working for rehab centers across the country would not be nearly as lucrative if the rates of addiction began to be compromised. While it is true that many addicts and alcoholics suffer from dual diagnosis disorders such as major depression or bipolar disorder, the amount of those afflicted with mental disorders as well as substance dependency reigns in at less than half of overall cases of addiction. This may be shocking to those who have been refilling prescriptions for Lexapro and Neurontin for years after being vaguely diagnosed as anxious and depressed while completing a 30-day inpatient stint.

Pharmaceutical Companies Are Not Down With Heroin Vaccine Funding

Janda has received harshly limited funding for continued research, despite the fact that further development of this vaccine could prove essential for the renewed success of society by means of decreased future health care costs. For if heroin addiction rates began to dwindle and what has recently become widely known as an ‘epidemic’ starts to stabilize, pharmaceutical companies will have less vulnerability and desperation to prey upon. The business of addiction recovery and relapse is an absurdly profitable one – from detox centers implementing maintenance drugs that may pose the risk of addiction themselves, to inpatient facilities that hand out psychological diagnoses like candy, the industry is rich in opportunities to benefit off of dead ends and despondency. Media attention regarding such innovations lacks for similar reasons. If the general public becomes aware that there may be a vaccine for heroin addiction, the entire longstanding foundation of recovery and pharmaceutical involvement itself will be compromised.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.