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Treatment Center Seeing Increase In Heroin Users

February 4, 2014, 5:32 PM by Leland Steva

Treatment Center Seeing Increase In Heroin Users

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman's death from an apparent heroin overdose is focusing renewed attention on a dangerous drug making a national resurgence.

A recent national study found the number of heroin users has nearly doubled since 2007; so has the number of deaths.  One local treatment center says that South Dakota is part of that trend.

Keystone Recovery Center in Canton has been open for 40 years. Recently, the center has seen more heroin users step inside its doors.

"I would say in the last couple years, we've seen at the very minimum a 10 percent increase for sure and probably more," Executive Director Carol Regier said.

Regier says many of those patients come from Minneapolis, Omaha and Rapid City. She also says more teenagers and adolescents are using heroin, especially on South Dakota's reservations.  And she says almost every addict the center sees does more than just one drug.

"We hardly ever see just a straight heroin addict. They're also using marijuana and alcohol and various pills," Regier said.

Keystone offers different treatment options, but every person who comes here must complete a 12-step program.  Once they complete the full program, 80 to 90 percent of addicts stay clean, but it takes a lifelong commitment.

"It's just like diabetes.  You can't say, 'I'll take insulin today and maybe I take it again next week.'  It's a daily program and that's the secret of staying clean and sober," Regier said.

Regier said that a lot of addicts start legally on prescription pills.  Once the prescription runs out, heroin is a cheaper option to get high.

To find out how South Dakota fairs against other states in drug overdoses, click here. 

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