West Michigan Parents Coping With Child’s Heroin Addiction

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- More details are surfacing about the death of Glee star Corey Monteith.

TMZ reports the coroner says Monteith had a history of drug use with intermittent periods of rehab and abstinence from drugs.  They note his tolerance may have been lowered since he stoppedusing after a stint in rehab in April.

FOX 17 spoke with Tim and Kim Wieland, the parents of a recovering heroin addict.   Their 20-year-old daughter Samantha is now in her sixth stint in rehab.

Kim realized her daughter was a drug addict when she was 16.  By then, Samantha has already been addicted to oxycodone for two years and switched to heroin.

“At first I tried to ignore it, you know, I figured it would go away like that, but when things started coming up missing, and money and objects, TV’s, laptops,” Kim said.

Kim says she tried hiding Samantha’s addiction from her dad, Tim, but eventually he caught on, too.

They both say they feel responsible and still blame themselves for her addiction.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration more than 275,000 people checked into rehab for heroin addiction last year.  More than 11,000 people were right here in Michigan.

Kim says parents need to be more aware, “Don’t deny it, I denied it, I turned a cheek, I did not want to believe it.”

The US Government spent more than $9.3 billion on drug treatment and prevention last year.

Mark Vandenbosch, Clinical Director at West Brook Recovery Center in Grand Rapids, says the number of people checking into rehab for heroin addiction in the last five years has skyrocketed.

“It’s cheaper than cocaine, sometimes cheaper then meth or some of the other prescription drugs, so it’s becoming more and more popular,” she said.

He says the drug doesn’t discriminate and he’s seeing more and more middle and upper-class addicts checking into rehab.

He also notes it takes longer to treat heroin addicts verses those addicted to other drugs.

“It’s just like it’s stuck to them like super glue.  You have to head it off before it even starts,” Kim says.

The Wielands say it’s through Samantha’s numerous stints in rehab they’re learning more about what parents in West Michigan should know.

“Open your eyes.  It’s an epidemic, it’s everywhere. They’re young, old, rich, poor,” Kim says.

She says parents need to know what their kids are doing, and who they’re hanging out with.  And after Samantha has relapsed five times already, the Wieland’s hope this is Samantha’s sixth and final trip to rehab.

“I’m scared to death,” Kim said.

For help with heroin or other addiction call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at  1-800-662-HELP.  Services are still available during the government shutdown.

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