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Newhighsfor heroin

rehabratesrisingin county Arrests, GABRIEII.E NOMURA HERALD T H EB E L LINGHAM Police and drug rehabilitation workets in Whatr:onl ClounWfezu'they are seeing an increase in local heroin use. Its difficult to get concrete numbers for some thing transported and used in secret. But those who work with peoplt' stntg$ing with heroin addic'tion have reporled increases in use and treatment for the drug in 2009. "There's not a doubt itt nr1' nrurd that heroin use has increased," said Carole \\'ells. rvho ours Westcoast Coturseling & Tt'eatnlent ('enter ur Bellinghtuli. -Even'bodt' set's this ittr t' rii^\ r. .IIlll\r's. lt'a t'lter s . e. t.he Sheriffs Offic'e. 1"-.,lic I''.'r l)et'rt u-orkng irl tlie ( r)r.uir.\sux'r' ilfS() ur tlt' pendt'ttc'e <'cttulseiurg,:urd I'r'e seenthe ltcrease. I saw it stiul to rise l0 years ago :urr! slqrnckt't itr tltt' lriust few years." The evidence for increased heroin use is all aloturd: ) The demand for clutpatient. rehab for heroin has more than doubled. This year, 150 people are getting outpatient treatment for rehab compared to 70 list year, said Jackie lltchel], Wratcom Couttty substance abuse program specialist. ) \ieedle exchanges increased 36 percent for spring/summer compared to the same time last year at the county Needle Exchange Program. This program provides clean needles to heroin users to prevent the transmlssion of diseasessuch as HN/AIDS, said Alice Simmors, public health nursing supervisor with the Whatcom County Health Deparfrnent.

Chuck Fuller,fiont, has been beating his off-andon 2O-yearheroinaddictionwith the help of the drug Suboxone Oqt. 28, In Belllnghan. as prescribedby his doctor, AnthonyGargano,picturedbehlndhlm on WednesdaY, Gaiganowishes more doctors in the county were licensedto prescribethe drug. Suboxone"sa\€d my life," said Fuller,who now holdsa job and goesto school. AndyBronson/ The BellinghamHerald

WHERETOGOFORHELP Thereare severalpublicand privatetreatment servicesin WhatcomCountyfor peoplecoping with substanceabuse.Goodcontactsto beginthe s e a rc hfo r h e l pi n c l u d e : ) WhatcomCountyHealth Department:6764593. > 24 Hour Care Crisis:(800) 584-3578. ) AlcoholDrug 2zl-hourHelp Line: (8O0)562!240. ) CocaineAnonymous:(800) 723-1-923. ) Narcotics Anonymousz647-3234. ) LummiCARE:384-2330. ) NooksackTribeGenesisll: 966-7704. ) The number of jail irunatesgoingthroughherhas withdrau'al oin increased7 to l0 percent,

said WendyJones,chief of thr-'WhatcomCountyJail. ) Arrests for heroin use and sale have increased,

according to Whatcom Courty Prosecutor Craig Chambersand Sheriff Bill Elfo. ) More people are entering rehab. Wells said up to 20people are in treatment for heroin at her fzrcilW at any one time, double thatof lastyear.Lex Rivers, with Catholic (lommunity Services,also h:rs seen an increase. IHEORIESBEHIND SPNG N USE [oca] experts say several factors are behind the increasein heroin use:The drug doesn't have to be irgectedanymore,it's fairly easyto get, addicts are get-

ting younger ffid, in a recession,it's cheaperthan drugs that offer similar higtrs. Heroin is no longer a drug of stereotypical addicts but somethingthat grips everyonefrom home' less youth to businesspro fessionals,Wells said. The quintessential image of a heroin addict - i4jection scars on the inside of the arm, a picture of gaunt, human decay.- rro longer accurately reflects heroin usels. "People no longer say, "Oh look at him, he's a heroin arldict," Wells said. See HEROIN,A4

*o"** ;f*Tnffl$#"fftff: Younger users'."H;ffitrffiffiH frffi,'#*'".,$*"s# Hffi*ffisfr ofdrugusers. tlan pqying for dn8s. Althoughthe needleex- aeaanrgsOrei|selves, Others .




wriemfrrancing'"ddioo" cnange ilfi, at *" point,aB6

ar€ so yourg that they nr4y becomes impossible, check- percent increase in needle

'to cheapdrug#nt#:H$kTlfliff il'",ffi.-ffif . '

rummage tfuough l)aftntts' or h€roin withdrawals, HExol from A1. riedcine cali And wiftdrawals ,o tlr" nets for prescdption pain- wolsL lf an addict miss€shis bstea4 people can seem killcrs or hex next fix 'Inagine tlle ,normal before they'vereadred "Ihe re:l snprise factor for flu on stercid$ vomiting,€-stage addiction. Heroin . me late$ is talking to a large riea, ciils, slukeg' MuQhy -usen wont necessadv hare number ofyoung fo (s addict- said ,injection scals; the drug also ed to hemin,' said Murphy, Ii takes as little as a one ,gan be snorted or cooked who works with a special time use to becqne addict€d down with boiling wat€r and invesfuative lmit tlut de2ls to hemi[ And if tl]at p€tson cdrtinues to us€ hemiq after with prmtihrtion and drugs. ?inhaled" A l?-year-old was - the six montls, his or her life is , Heroin is tesstaboo, ana it's rcheaperand easierto get than yomgest peBon ever treat€d fi y enhendted in the drug; "similar dnrgs,said Beuingham for hemin useby Dr. Anthony Murphy said. ;folice Sgt ClaudiaMurphy Garyano, who teats patients , Ca4ano said he is one of

coastCourseling & Theafrnent Center would cost $150 for goup ther4y, phrs medieal forgedech, crearccounter-fees for some.And these fees feiCmoney or hlm to idmtiF can be minimat or paid with other funds, zuchas Medicaid. But jail or treafrnent may use heroin to miss rcnt p4y- not solve the problem. Tleatments ard lose tlrcir homes. ment facilities have a hard ParenB high on hercin often time gettingpeopleto come in neglect O& ctritOl€[I It can for help consistently.auittirtg cost users tlrcir jobs, health is difficult relapseis common. and hundredsofdollius a day. Each time a person uses, But users and tlEir dfu€ct the chemicals are in conhol, crime victins atent the o[{y wor\ing directly with the part ures paying for |re6oinaddic- of the brain that feels rewardfion Ifsomeone isthr€'tedfor ed by the drug. It's a senseof usingor sellinghui:in or com- happiness and satisfaction miuitg a crim; to ftunce tlat that's often absent in a perdrug habit, the $66 a day it son'slife withoutheroin, Wells takesto keeptlle p€[son in jail said. comesout oftaxpqye$'pockWith a zubstancethat powerfirl, the chancesof successful recovery go down. Ttre no sryinghow long someone chances of more dmg u,se, corddrcnuin in jarl e+eciatty crime, jail time and failing whm peoplear€ bookedon heatth go rrp. mul-btr)I" "Heroin is a destination . . .After "h"tST a weel in jail for a dru9," Murphy said. "As far as heroiHelatedcrimer^tarQry a normal life goes, you're erswonldhavespmt $466ju$ done."

iT#",J?",S: "*"";,"",n"*"*n

more people have leamed atouttie piara*.Itxat doee nt necessa.rily mean more people are using heroin, strc said Tlrc Drug Enforcement A&ninishation has not seized more hercin tlis year than in past years, mid Agent Jodie Underwood. And the number of hemin-rclated deatfE has not gone up in Whatcom County, said Gary Gotdfogel, cormrymedical eroninex. SE CGtg Et ElIu|E ^E

*,ffii1*".ffiJ"f,x ffiHffi,ff:t?\f :Hffi#ffi""ffi *mm'm:,H :h*.1#T#TS",m

cgncer,.g"€sa beentoldby pediatricians to pr€scribeS\$- *# ,q-tuitis g---------------nd that govemment t#;;"-;;;h;; .highsimilar.tohemil! whm someusersitart as early u" o1o1e,adq thd, whencou ;",f.r1]e;ffi &;-tilfri -with pled .ils time-release effect .is eighthgade theroy, g" Eb ;;ii;iifu?;l"i#d;p.op* .mlv.arleo Dy IJle Some teens start using l3ofnon.,Te- refatirE afei on Whatcom -crusnng tablets and then the-highdemandfor 6o.frt"".i--'jri"""*-snorting, painkillerswith frienG and; gauryof-99*, rryecung' . swalowulS _o.r parties.Whm they graduate reel9nl rjtlt counry,oTxd In manvcasesheminusels l0 morc.doc.tors h_r';*;_";'i;;ffrj ryq|ry. h9T r€ctatly. It's h,"n hish sctrmi" tf,w Inav use about canpr€scnbeb\.rboxone,;U*"* to ke€psomeone beldndbars. 'qrT ntghryaddc'Ove. not be atrrleto Settle druS! who _ . irrt t..E -prescriptiois (4plo*tl,., "t" Gabrielle Nomura is a BellingBy cortpadso4 a w€€k in tom retatives' ft"t* u,'rt , ," and ' .:Yl9lpolun"difr9xJto ham freelance writer -r'T- completery,booked," :obramwnrout a prcscrp,tion anvmoreor afi6m ttin or, ou@tient ts€ahnent at West"!""t "r^ .andcosl,sabusssabout0t r hesaid "I haveto h.[n people ir,ir" .*r.o tf,*-.t JG"d .rmittigrun, ttlurptu .itd aqiryeveryd4y." 6fr;-iffi;"'d*;;;

.f#ffiffH.ffi*"ffi ffi-;"d's"t"i,"ndffi ffi #"# ""H;i ;1tr,:hffl'TffiH* ffitr'ffif'ftffi .t- piit"i aql.S[*ffiflIig..

ffifr,ryjs' EII{ SPE t{ lrSE

ot* ffrno, *f,o n*'hdd";

gramof heroincods on\y$50 dence.

to $80,Murphy said. It's common for users to be satisfied on one to two gramsof heroin a day, maldng it cheap€rtlun Ox50ontin.

"Otu commturity is simply seeing more people getting help and seeking trealrnent," Gargano said. The economic recession has encouraged



pills could cost almost $500a Not everyone is convinced job and goes to school, said henoinuseis spreadinglocalty, the dmg "savedmy life.' day on the street. bepending on the quality, a but again,there is no JotiOe# Simriors, n udns supervi- I


sorwith the NeedleFdcharye I

Program, said she's also noticed an increase in the number of people seeking h€b for heroin addiction. She I believes there aren't enough



Heroin use may be on the rise in Whatcom County  

Awarded first-place in investigative reportering with the Washington Newspaper Publisher's Association, 2009.

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