New war on heroin through the eyes of those on the front lines

drug-warST. LOUIS (KTVI) – A recent scene at a deadly heroin overdose jarred emergency responders. The victim, who was dead from a drug overdose, wore a bracelet saying, a reference to never trying heroin.

Recovering addict Chad Sabora often compares drug use to suicide. Now he uses that as a tactic to get people help.

We met him during a recent intervention outside of a St. Louis hospital. He worked with an addict to get him admitted.

“You have to make a direct threat and tell them a plan,” Sabora told the addict. “So what we’re going to say when we walk in there is, ‘I have access to a weapon, if you don’t take me right now, I’m going to go home and shoot myself in the head.’ … That’s the only lie you’re going to tell today.”

Sabora said it’s the only way for some addicts to save themselves.

“You’re going to sit down with the nurse then she’s going to ask you what’s going on. What are you going to say? The addict reaffirmed, ‘I’m suicidal. I have access to a weapon. If I leave here I’m going home to use it.’ Okay, good. After that, be honest.”

Once he gets through the ER and admitted into the bio behavioral unit, Sabora said he’ll have a better shot of getting into heroin rehab.

“When you get out, you can get enrolled in outpatient right away, so you call me the day you get out,” Sabora told the addict.

“If this is what I gotta do, this is what I’ve gotta do. I don’t have any insurance now so it’s kind of hard to get in somewhere,” the addict said.

When asked if there was one thing that made him want to get clean, the addict said, “Not just one thing. Well, one main thing would be my children and myself. I’m tired of this for myself and my family and my kids mainly. I meant to do so much more. I used to be a firefighter EMT.”

They walked into the hospital as Sabora said he’s done this with addicts hundreds of times.

I asked DEA task force officer Juan Wilson, ‘What do you think about that?’

Wilson responded, “I`ve talked to Chad myself. You know it`s the same thing in law enforcement, not everyone agrees. Not everybody has the same type of tactics in order to help and you know I talked to Chad and told him we both have the same goal and that`s to end the heroin epidemic and stop people from dying.”

Wilson recently changed tactics, leaving undercover work.

“You send them to jail. They’re in there for 24 hours or 72 hours. They get released. They’re still battling addiction,” he said.

Wilson’s heading a new federal approach on prevention, which includes reaching out to children. Wilson, who’s also a detective with the St. Charles City Police Department, described one recent talk when, “…girls came up to me with tears in their eyes. They asked me, why didn’t their parents want them and why wasn’t anything they did ever enough? To know they’re hurting so badly. A parent that’s battling addiction is choosing drugs over a relationship with their kids.” Read more…



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