This Graphic Video Puts A Face On The Rising Heroin Addiction Rates

Summer Myers died in January at the age of 25. She was a heroin addict. Now, Jackie Smallwood, Myers' mother, wants you to hear her daughter's story, the Alaska Dispatch News reports. In a graphic video, Smallwood describes her daughter as a perfectionist and honor-roll student. But, when Myers began using heroin, her whole personality changed. She began stealing and turned to sex work to support her habit. "When you're an addict, you do things that you would never normally do," Smallwood says. "This completely changed her; it made her somebody I didn't know." Related: The Critical Decision You Haven't Made — But Should Myers is a tragic example of a rising problem in the U.S. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new statistics showing that the rate of heroin overdose deaths has almost tripled in three years, and quadrupled since 2000. Although the rate of deaths for women is still lower than it is for men, it shows the same recent spike. Related: How These 4 Drugs Are Treating Mental Illness One contributing factor is the rising difficulty of obtaining prescription drugs. Because heroin is often much cheaper, it may replace drugs such as oxycontin when addicts can no longer afford them. And, the rate of prescription painkiller overdose has risen much faster for women than men. Related: The Odd Thing That Sets People With Depression Apart

Even with the statistics, it's hard to realize what a problem heroin addiction is truly becoming — which is what makes Myers' story (and Smallwood's sharing of it) so important. "It was a waste of a beautiful life and a beautiful mind," says Smallwood in the video. But, there is help out there. Click here to find treatment programs in your area and other resources for overcoming addiction. (Cosmopolitan)

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