The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office says there has been a dramatic increase in the number of cases of deaths from heroin in that county.
The man who watched two of his friends die from possible heroin overdoses in his Hudsonville home is shedding more light on what’s happening there.
“First with Cory was extremely traumatizing,” said Blake Windham, Hudsonville resident.
It’s been a rough month for Windham.
Two of his friends died of suspected heroin overdoses in his own home on Stable Drive, just weeks apart from one another.
First he found roommate Cory Dykstra dead after he came home from work on February 4th.
“Cory was my absolute best friend for 18 years,” said Windham.
After going to grief counseling for Cory, the unthinkable happened again.
Saturday Blake found his other friend Jordon Bauer not breathing in his living room in the morning.
“To have it all thrown back in my face and find Jordon. My initial thought was not again. This can`t be happening again,” said Windham.
Blake said Jordon brought the drug over the night before.
After putting up a fight and telling Jordon they shouldn’t take the drug, Windham said he caved in and did it with him anyway.
Then the next morning he had to call 911 when he found his friend dead.
Windham says his gateway to trying heroin was prescription Vicodin, given to him in 2008 for a back operation and chronic pain.
“I had lower lumbar fusion surgery on my lower back and three to four years before that those weren’t working because you grow a tolerance to that,” said Windham.
When he couldn’t stop the pain with prescription drugs, he noticed his friends doing heroin from time to time and thought about taking it.
Blake said when you see trusted loved ones doing it, you may have the illusion it won’t hurt you or you are in control.
However, he said that’s not the case and at first try he was hooked.
“Whatever pain your going through be it physically or emotionally or mentally, it just curbs that,” said Windham.
Lt. Mark Bennett of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said the use of heroin is growing in West Michigan.
“Our death investigations that involve the heroin overdose had increased dramatically over the last two years,” said Bennett.
“It is everywhere,” said Windham.
“I don`t know if it`s cost, you know, whether it`s a fad or just the availability is greater than some other drugs,” said Bennett.
Windham has a warning to those who think they can try this drug and not get hooked.
“To people who haven`t tried it or think they want to try it, don`t, it destroys your life,” said Windham. “It`s going to destroy your family`s life your friend`s life. They call it the devil`s drug for a reason”.
Blake says he would like to honor his friend’s memory by becoming a counselor in order to inform others, especially youth, about the dangers of drugs.
He says he is also attending grief counseling for the loss of his friends and is taking each day, one step at a time.