Heroin grows popular again in Mid-South - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

SCSO attributes 40 deaths to heroin overdoses last year

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Recovering addict, Sidney Austin, knows the pain of heroin addiction. She spent more than 20 years of her life battling it. Recovering addict, Sidney Austin, knows the pain of heroin addiction. She spent more than 20 years of her life battling it.

(WMC-TV) - The Shelby County Sheriff's Office attributed 40 fatalities to heroin overdoses, with test results pending on other suspected cases, in the first eight months of 2013.

Recovering addict, Sidney Austin, knows the pain of heroin addiction. She spent more than 20 years of her life battling it.

It started with prescription drugs from her doctor to numb the pain of a family crisis. First came Darvocet and Lortab, then Austin says she added alcohol.

"Then you have a little aches and pain you get your other medicine and before long it was ... I was addicted and I didn't know it," she said. "It becomes quite quickly not about how good you're gonna feel when you get the dope, but how bad you're gonna feel without it ... I never saw an end to it."

Austin says addicts are physically, emotionally, and mentally sick and will do anything to get the drug.

She thought she would die from using, but the unexpected death of her 37-year-old daughter who died suddenly in her sleep four years ago changed her life.

"She had a child. He was 8 ... that came to me, and I couldn't even take care of him," said Austin.

Austin is now four years sober after rehab.

"We've got beautiful young children who are shooting heroin and dying; these are not old men living under the overpass," she said.

La Paloma Treatment Center CEO Paige Bottom says ingredients in the heroin and the user's tolerance for the drugs are among many factors that could be cause for overdosing cases like that of 46-year-old actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.

"We don't really know what's in the heroin. Who knows what chemical are actually involved?" said Bottom. "And if it's something that would cause the system to shut down immediately because it's poison virtually."

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