RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- The death of Hollywood actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman is bringing to light a problem that exists in our own community. It is heroin addiction, a struggle that is becoming much more common.
Joshua Green is a Nevadan who is overcoming a problem that, unfortunately, is too often shrouded in secrecy and shame.
"No one wants to admit that they are a heroin addict, because everyone looks at them like they are just dirty," said Green.
His body still bears the scars of a secret addiction that started at a tender age. "I still have track marks (on my arms). I used to shoot up all over my hands, my neck my feet."
His love affair with heroin began at a low point in his life, when he was incarcerated. "I was 16, certified as an adult. On my 16th birthday, my so-called friends wanted to give me heroin."
Once out of prison, his relationship to heroin took a twist. This time, it was doctor who helped foster the relationship. "I got in to a car wreck and they put me on Oxycontin, Lorotab, and Percocet. In my mind, it's ok, this is legal, doctors are giving it to me. It's not a big deal, everybody is doing it."
But doctors soon refused to fill his prescription, so he turned to an familiar old friend. "Trying to get more from the doctor, it wouldn't happen. So I went back to using heroin, because it was a lot cheaper and I was getting the same effect."
At first, he started smoking it, but became convinced injecting was a faster, better way to get his high. "Oh I'm saving money, if I do it this way, and it's giving me a better effect. So it was my sick way of thinking."
Drug Rehabilitation Expert Steven Burt says heroin addiction is becoming more common. "Iit can happen to anybody. Look at Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Look at this drug prescription problem where people are going to their doctors, they have health insurance and going to their doctors to get treatment for pain. Before you know it, they're addicted to pain medication."
Joshua is now committed to turning his life around. He credits his recovery to Steven Burt's program at the Ridge House. Joshua says it has been 14 months
since his last high.
He looks at the death of Hoffman and says he is grateful for each and every day.