Heroin addiction: The road to recovery

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - 5:46pm

The unexpected death of Academy Award-Winning actor, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, has many people wondering about the lasting effects of heroin and addiction. The actor was sober for more than 20 years, but a relapse cost him his life.

H, smack, or whatever you want to call it. It's deadly, and it's hitting us hard. There's a heroin epidemic in our country, and right here at home.

The East Baton Rouge Coroner said in 2012, five people died from heroin-related deaths, but in 2013, the number was shocking with 34 deaths in East Baton Rouge alone.

There are no confirmed heroin deaths so far this year, but local rehab centers have seen an increase in the number of people checking in.

"Educated people, doctors, lawyers, and it just crosses all barriers," Barry Crampton, the program manager of Cenikor said.

Barry Crampton's been working with addicts for more than 25 years.

"Heroin addicts are more laid back because they are opiate users. It kind of slows them down. They don't get excited about a lot of things," Crampton said.

The hardest part for addicts, especially those addicted to heroin, isn't getting into a rehab center, it's the pain that comes with it.

"It's really like the flu. It's really, really bad. Your bones hurt. It's like cold sweats," Crampton said.

"It is such an addicting drug because if you don't have it then you go through those withdrawal symptoms, which are really horrendous. They make you feel like you want to die," Reba Casebolt, the clinical manager of Cenikor said.

Here at Cenikor, a long term rehabilitation center, it takes both behavioral and clinical treatment to get addicts back on track.

"How do we approach who they are behavioral and how are we going to change that behavior so that you don't focus on the things that you used to do," Crampton said.

Even after treatment, it still takes a conscious effort to stay on the right track.

"When you get those 10, 15, 20 years, you start getting that little notion in your head 'well I'm cured.' Well once an addict, always an addict, and the only difference is now you're an addict in recovery," Casebolt said.

If you or anyone you know is battling an addiction, you can get information about treatment and recovery by contacting Cenikor at 1-888-CENIKOR or got to their website www.cenikor.org.

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