POSTED: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 9:30am
UPDATED: Monday, November 4, 2013 - 2:47pm
THIBODAUX, LA (NBC33) — Drug use and abuse is on the rise, but particularly here in south Louisiana, and the drug that's causing a huge scare is heroin.
Nearly 20 people died due to complications from heroin use this year in East Baton Rouge Parish alone.
"Dope," "Smack," "H," whatever you want to call it, it's making it mark in south Louisiana. Scott Silverii, the chief of police for Thibodaux, said this drug isn't just harmful for the users, but to the community.
"I think over the last several years the reemergence of it has become significant in the communities throughout the state and I think the entire south if not the country," Silverii said. "For example about a month ago, we had four people that were driving through our main thorough-fare and they were in the process of ingesting heroin, even the driver was making the attempt, and as he was reaching over for the syringe, he drove through a major four-way intersection, thank God there was nobody that was injured."
However, for Phil Landry, he could be considered the lucky one.
"I have had experiences with heroin. I've used it probably on three or four different occasions, but it was like a one use time. I didn't continue to use it, so I never became hooked on it," Phil admitted. "Cocaine was always my drug of choice, and of course, I abused them all."
Phil said he had normal childhood, but that did not change the path he decided to take. After both of his parents died, Phil was looking for a way to escape the pain.
"The last straw right there really... My life was already headed down a spiral that was basically not returned from, but when that happened I just lost all hope," Phil said. "I never really learned how to get over that, the fact of losing someone that was really close to you, so I chose to numb it instead."
In all, Phil has spent close to $250,000 on drugs and was on a downward spiral. Then one day, Phil was looking for money to get a fix, so he robbed a bank which landed him behind bars for three years.
"Even though I was locked up behind those walls, that was the free-est time I had ever experienced in my life, and I went through some intensive drug rehabilitation programs. I attended AA in there," Phil said.
Now at 39 years old, Phil has turned his life around. Completely clean for two years, he's helping addicts do the same.
"So we decided to call it CPR, breathing life back into people because I feel like there's so many people out there that need the life of Christ to breathe back in them. It's a simple acronym that stands for, new concepts which leads to new perspectives, and brings new revelations," Phil said. "I just feel like this is an arena that God has called me to serve in. I experienced the majority of my life, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and I don't feel like that time was wasted."
Phil has some advice for addicts out there.
"They could either spend the rest of their lives in prison, they could die, or they could turn their life around," Phil said.
Phil's graduating in may from Nicholls State with a Bachelor's in Geomatics, but the work he's doing with other addicts is something he plans to continue.