DENVER (CBS4) – Prescription drug abuse in Colorado has dropped by 18 percent, but heroin use has become an epidemic. On Friday federal and state officials talked about how to fight the deadly trend.
Blair Hubbard is one of the faces of heroin abuse. She’s been clean for four years but says her addiction began with pain pills prescribed after her wisdom teeth were removed.READ MORE: Denver Weather: Cooler Temperatures Settle In Quickly
“I accidentally took more than the recommended dose at one point and realized that I really liked the way it felt,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard eventually switched to heroin. It’s cheaper and easier to find. A heroin epidemic has now grown out of prescription drug abuse. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell came to Denver to join Gov. John Hickenlooper and his health cabinet to find solutions.
“This is a problem that we as a nation need to focus on. Colorado is focusing on it, and that’s why I’m here today to have the conversation about best practices,” Burwell said.READ MORE: Children's Hospital Colorado Served As Largest Enrolling Site For Pfizer COVID Vaccine Trial For Children Ages 5-11
Those best practices include educating people about medical assistance treatments like methadone and offering better access to Naloxone. Naloxone can reverse an overdose as it happens.
Hickenlooper says the state is also working closely with doctors to prescribe less when they can rather than a full month’s supply.
Hubbard encourages other addicts to ask for help. She says there is life after heroin.MORE NEWS: Opening Statements Begin In Rogel Aguilera-Mederos Trial For 2019 Deadly I-70 Semi Crash
“Whenever I was addicted to heroin … I would wake up every morning sick … and figure out ways to make money to go buy more heroin,” she said.