By Jennifer Brice

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Colorado is set to get hundreds of thousands of dollars from the federal government to fight the heroin and the opioid epidemic. Colorado is one of 11 states to get the money because we have one of the highest rates of treatment for heroin and opioids per capita.

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CBS4’s Jennifer Brice spoke with a Douglas County woman who lost her 17-year-old son to heroin.

CBS4's Jennifer Brice interviews Chris Lazarus (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Jennifer Brice interviews Chris Lazarus (credit: CBS)

“If he truly knew what heroin would have done to him, ” says Chris Lazarus. “I don’t think he would have taken it.”

Matt Lazarus got hooked on heroin in four months. In that short amount of time, Lazarus says he was gone.

“My way of dealing with Matt’s death was to try to save another parent or kid from going through what my family went through,” said Lazarus.

Matt Lazarus (credit: Chris Lazarus)

Matt Lazarus (credit: Chris Lazarus)

She created a foundation, Epic, to support the non-profit “Act on Drugs.” The foundation has an annual 5K run/walk on Sept. 18 at Butterfield Park in Castle Rock that benefits the non-profit. Registration is open now.

Act on Drugs educates families, schools and organizations about drugs and addiction. Now, more than ever, investigators like Sgt. Jim Gerhardt say there is a need. Gerhardt works with the Colorado Drug Investigators Association. He says in the beginning of his career they would work cases with very small amounts of heroin but not now.

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“Now we’re doing cases where were taking pounds of heroin off the streets,” says Gerhardt. “It’s heroin at a level I’ve never seen before.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Cops blame it on prescription drug abuse. Heroin is cheaper, easier to find. Some even say the new drug culture of marijuana legalization in Colorado naturally invites heroin to our front door.

In five years, the DEA says heroin overdoses increased 350 percent in Colorado, mostly among people under 24 years old.

It’s happening to kids that you know, according to Lazarus, “I’ve seen a lot of top athletes die from heroin overdoses,” she says. “Kids you would look at and never in a million years think they were using.”


Act on Drugs

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Jennifer Brice is a reporter with CBS4 focusing on crime and courts. Follow her on Facebook or on Twitter @CBS4Jenn.