Nov 20, 2015 1:10 PM by News Staff
From painkiller abuse to heroin addiction, more than 2 million people in the United States are known to abuse opiates. It’s a trend that has crept into Shasta County over the last several years and has now spiraled out of control and into the streets of Redding.
The heroin epidemic began taking shape after the Food and Drug Administration started regulating prescription painkillers like OxyContin. Addicts could no longer get the full dose as quickly so they turned to the next best thing, heroin.
Redding police say heroin now has such a strong grip on the city, that 80 percent of all arrests police make on a daily basis involve heroin.
Police say black tar heroin from Mexico is running the streets of Redding. In early 2015, authorities busted the Shingle Shack in Shingletown after they discovered it was a front for a major heroin ring, run by a Mexican Cartel. Six pounds of black tar heroin was seized.
Users typically get into heroin by smoking it, but often turn to shooting up with hypodermic syringes to get a stronger high.
A half of a gram can cost up to $50 and can keep a rookie user high for over 24 hours. Heavy users need more than half of a gram, and that’s what is contributing to Redding’s increase in property crimes and thefts.
Experienced heroin users may have a $100-$150 a day habit and they’ll do whatever it takes to get their fix, police say. In recent years, shoplifting, vehicle burglaries and home invasions have increased dramatically.
Redding resident Jamie Mahoray is 31 and addicted to heroin. She told Action News Now she became hooked on drugs when she was just 11, and her addiction to OxyContin led her to heroin. Mahoray, like other heroin addicts that spoke off-camera, she says she is constantly chasing her first high, and she tells us she shoots up five to 10 times a day. Since shooting up for the first time, the longest she has ever gone without using heroin was a year, when she was sent to prison for a heroin related crime.
Tonight at 5:30 p.m. on Action News Now, Reporter Angela Musallam will have a special report on how the heroin epidemic is impacting North State hospitals.