RocWell: Heroin Check

- Heroin use could be happening in your own neighborhood.

"They're in the suburbs. They're in the city. They are people you'd never think," like kids, teens, and young adults, according to Rochester General Hospital's Emergency Services Associate Chief Dr. Bryan Gargano.

The RGH Emergency Department saw an increase in heroin overdoses about six months ago, and the problem still persists today.  Officials say they treat about three to four cases daily.

"It's out there, and it's dangerous. People don't realize how dangerous it is, how potent it is," added Gargano. He says there used to be a stigma associated with shooting up, but he's learned from addicts themselves, that stigma is gone.  

"It's freely available, it's a lot less expensive than some other drugs, and it's a good high for them," Gargano said.  

That high comes with highly addictive, and deadly consequences.

"When you overdose, you stop breathing, the oxygen stops going to your brain. Sometimes, we have people whose hearts we can get back, but they're brain dead."

That's why Gargano is pleased to see the state stepping in.  Not only are there tougher laws in place for dealers, 100 state police investigators will soon be devoted to tackling the deadly issue.  Gargano believes it's a step in the right direction.

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