Community Feels Effects of Nation-Wide Heroin Epidemic - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Community Feels Effects of Nation-Wide Heroin Epidemic

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(WLNS) - The US government is calling the spike in heroin-related deaths an urgent public health crisis.

Mid-Michigan is not immune to the epidemic, either. Law enforcement says it's a major problem. In February the tri-county narcotics squad raided a home in Lansing with more than 100 small viles of Heroin.

Sheriff's Deputies say at one point Heroin was only a concern for the inner city, but that's no longer the case.

So what does the addiction look like? You may have a preconceived idea and it might not look like Phil Pavona from Okemos.

"It was nothing we ever talked to our kids about. You talk about pot and you talk about booze but Heroin?" said Phil Pavona, Families Against Narcotics.

In 2011, Phil's son, Eric, a former honor student who scored a 32 on his ACT died of a Heroin overdose.

Phil says Eric headed down a dangerous road from which he couldn't recover. "Once it gets to that point, it's a disease."

Phil now works with Parents against Narcotics, helping families going through what his did.

He says in Ingham County alone 42 people died of Heroin overdoses the same year his son did.

He fears that trend will grow and says first time users don't understand the grip Heroin can have on them.

"The kids will say I just can't stop, I've tried. "

"I think it's become a huge issue and a huge concern for law enforcement," said Joel Maatman, Major Ingham County Sheriff's Office. Ingham County Major Joel Maatman says Heroin was an epidemic in the 80's, but the problem gradually disappeared.

Until recently, now they've seen a major increase in Heroin use.

"Not only has the drug resurfaced, but it has also spread." Maatman says, "It's not just in the inner cities, you can find Heroin in basically any community in Ingham County. "

<"It's expanded to the out-county areas--to communities that you would just never guess there would be heroin being sold.">

Maatman says law enforcement and leaders in every community need to be diligent in combating the Heroin epidemic. You never know whose life it may destroy.

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