Those working with addicts push for legislation to fight heroin abuse

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CrimeTracker

POSTED: Monday, October 7, 2013 - 5:30pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 9:01am

Addiction counselor Tonja Myles has been working with recovering drug addicts for close to 20 years, but recently she has started to notice a disturbing new trend.

"Heroin has come in and it is a beast. It’s killing people left and right," said Myles.

In recent months Myles said heroin has started to make a comeback in the worst way.

"I know people thought that this was a drug that was back in the ‘50's, ‘60's and ‘70's but it is here today and we have to bring awareness to our community,” explained Myles, “any addiction is bad, but this one is a beast."

She said because Louisiana laws have made it harder to "doctor shop," addicts are now turning to heroin and finding it on the streets in deadly amounts.

"The stuff that they're using is just cut with so much stuff, and I know one or two people in particular, they end up in the hospital three times because of using and the dirty needles. It’s taking them out fast, I’ve never seen anything like it," explained Myles.

Myles and others like her from across the capitol city have begun to push for legislation to change the rules on punishment for possession and use of heroin, cracking down on dealers, and getting necessary treatment for users.

"Right now, we have to do something about it right now. Something has to be done because if not we'll continue to lose people at an alarming rate," Myles said.

NBC33 reached out to Senator Sharon Weston-Broome regarding the issue, she confirmed that she is interested in passing "fair and balanced" legislation to tackle the problem, but noted she wants to explore the issue further before laying out legislative plans.

Myles agreed that she would like to see fair and balanced sentencing for heroin crimes.

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