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CONNECTS AGAINST CRIME: Heroin Use Rising

Updated: Thursday, February 6 2014, 10:32 PM CST
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- It’s just after 5PM at Parlor City, and the dinner crowd is starting to shuffle in. In the middle of it all, standing by the bar, is owner Jon Jelinek.

In his hand he clutches a photograph - all that remains of his son Sam.

“Never saw him with a needle in his arm until I found him dead.”

Jelinek says while the handsome 23-year-old was smiling on the outside, inside he was wrestling with heroin addiction.

“Heroin is such a demon, it just jumps up and grabs you,” Jelinek says.

Jelenik says that struggle came to an end last March. One day, his son didn't show up for work. As he went back home to check on him, Jelinek could feel the inevitable.

“All the drive, all the way out, I knew I was going to find him dead,” Jelinek says. “I could just feel it, sick to my stomach.”

When he made it home, that feeling was confirmed.

“The door was locked, and I ended up kicking the door in...and found him dead.”

Unfortunately, Jelinik's story is becoming more common in eastern Iowa, and the face of addiction is more or less like Sam's.

Kelly Reitzler with the Area Substance Abuse Council says they are seeing more use in 20-year-old Caucasian, middle class kids.

With recent crackdowns on prescription medicines, making them harder to obtain, most of these kids searching for a stronger high are turning to the cheaper Heroin.

“We hear a lot that Chicago is bringing a lot this way, and for whatever reason, Cedar Rapids is one of the areas being flooded,” Reitzler says.

It's why ASAC's numbers have jumped - from 69 heroin addicted clients in 2012, to 91 in 2013. Reitzler says treating those clients is not easy.

“The only thing you can do to stop a heroin user from using is lock them up in a closet,” Jelinek says.

Reitzler says being off the drug can be intense.

“They get into the painful withdrawal, and end up taking off to use [the drug],” she says. “We haven't found a way to be successful.”

Sam’s parents checked him into rehab in Florida, which seemed to work for a while. However, in Sam’s case, looks were deceiving.

“You always think 'is there something I could have done? Is there something I missed?” Jelinek says.

ASAC says that because of the intense withdrawals, they would need a large detox facility to help treat the addicts. In the meantime, they do the best that they can with the resources they have.

If you or someone you know needs help visit, http://www.asac.us/treatment.html or http://www.helpguide.org/mental/drug_abuse_addiction_rehab_treatment.htm \CONNECTS AGAINST CRIME: Heroin Use Rising


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