Heroin Hell: A Deadly Epidemic

April 29, 2014- Erie’s heroin epidemic is real.
Police say it's fueling local crime.
People of all ages are addicted.
Some are overdosing.
Death rates on the rise, as the opiate continues to grow in popularity.
But now, medical and law enforcement experts and recovering addicts are waging war on the drug that has claimed the lives of so many.
You hear about the growing issue every day….
But today, we have a face.
A regular girl with a real addiction...
Behind each statistic there is someone who has lost and is working to rebound.
Today, Teressa who started using heroin at age 18 is sharing her story, her own Heroin Hell.
It’s a problem of epic proportions nationally and right here in Erie County.
The Erie County Coroner's office reporting 59 drug deaths in 2013.
26 of those deaths were caused by heroin.
And just four months into 2014, 17 drug deaths were reported....
Eight of those deaths were caused by heroin.
Officials anticipate those numbers to climb.
22-year-old Teressa Wilczynski knows how serious heroin addiction can be.
She started shooting heroin because she was in a bad relationship and many of the people she knew were using.
But she says she is one of the lucky ones, celebrating a major milestone.
As of April 21st she has been heroin free for one year.
It took seeing some of her peers dying, and her boyfriend going to jail to realize heroin was not the answer and never will be.
Teressa is not alone.
There are an estimated 700 thousand heroin users in the United States according to national data.
Teressa will forever carry the scars of her addiction.
But she hopes her story will lead those who are struggling to come forward and seek help.
Teressa says she plans to be a spokesperson for addiction recovery.
Today, she is still clean.
Because this is such an epidemic community support and outreach is growing.
This Thursday a heroin community outreach seminar is being held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Fairfield Fire Hall on East Lake Road in Harborcreek.

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