FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) – When it comes to fighting heroin, one Hamilton County community is tackling the problem by focusing on prescription medication.
It’s the path one Hamilton County resident took to the drug.
“Five years ago, I was so miserable. I was in a hole, I didn’t know how to get out of it,” a former addict said.
24-Hour News 8 isn’t identifying him, at his request.
Growing up in the area, he knows its beauty. But at the same time, he knows the other side.
“Drugs are everywhere,” he said. “You can get drugs in any city and any state, no matter how beautiful or low the crime rate is.”
Six years ago, he began to learn this first hand, when he turned to prescription pills.
“They just made everything,” the former addict said. “They just made me feel good about who I was.”
But after a while, the pills weren’t enough.
“One day, you know, there’s no pills around and you start feeling sick, because your body becomes dependent on them, and one day someone offers heroin to you,” he said.
And that, he says, is how pills helped him become hooked on heroin.
“You never think that you’re going to be an addict,” he said. “You never think it’s going to happen to you.”
It’s a story Fishers Police Sgt. Tom Weger has heard before.
“I think, based on our research, that is (a) perfect example of how a heroin addict gets started,” Weger said.
In Fishers, Heroin is nowhere near the city’s biggest issue. In 2015, there were more than 1,600 arrests, with just 68 of them being heroin related, or 4 percent. To keep the number from rising, officers are focused on its root.
“What we have found is that this normally starts at an adolescence and they obtain the prescription medications from someone that we live with, and then once they move out of the home and they don’t have easy access to the prescription pills, then they have a tendency to turn to heroin,” Weger said.
Weger said to stop it, they’re focused on enforcement and education. One way is by giving people an easy way to dispose unwanted medication.
Getting the word out seems to have worked. Since they’ve put a pill box in place, they said so many people are bringing prescription pills that officers have to clean it out several times a week.
“We empty it three to four times a week, and so obviously people are making use of that resource,” Weger said.
Tackling heroin by pills is something the former addict likes to hear.
“That’s a start, but there’s so much more to the problem,” he said.
For him, it took three DUIs and a decision to go through a county program.
“The drug court program basically saved my life, because at the time I did not want to get clean,” the former addict said.
He completed it in September, and now works with addicts.
“Every time could be your last time, you never know,” he said.
He isn’t dealing with that now and is thankful to enjoy the beauty the area has to offer. In Hamilton County, there are a number of ways for people using heroin or pills to get help. For more information on the drug court, click here. For information on Fishers Police pill site, click here.