In Depth: Deadly addiction in the suburbs


(KRON)—All too often we talk about it as something that happens on a dark street corner, but as we’ll show you, it’s happening in well-lit, prosperous communities.

The Centers for Disease Control says it’s an epidemic.  Opioid deaths are up 33-percent over the last five years.

KRON4’s Vicki Liviakis shows us how this deadly problem is taking a toll on teenagers in Bay Area suburbs.

There isn’t a day that goes by that April Rovera of San Ramon doesn’t wonder what she could have done to save her son.

“The coroner I remember talking directly to let us know that typically for overdoses they see quite a lot more in somebody’s system that joey had but for him that night it was a lethal combination,” Rovero said.

But as anti-drug public service announcements warn, while away at college, Joey Rovera overdosed on a cocktail of prescription drugs.

According to the Centers from Disease Control, car crashes used to be the one killer among young adults but now drugs moved to the top of the list.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports more than 52,000 young adults died from overdose in 2015.

Joey died of opioids, synthetic drugs that can have the same effect heroin and that’s just the beginning.

Bryant is from Concord,  we’re protecting his identity,  started snorting crushed opioid pills right out of high school.

Soon, he was smoking heroin then shooting it and didn’t stop even after witnessing the overdose death of a friend

Bryant is smart, clean cut and an addict, a slave to his heroin high.  He never thought it would happen to him.

You don’t have to go looking for junkies in big cities and dark alley ways. They’re right here in the suburbs and all you have to do is open up the bathroom medicine cabinet.  This is where heroin gets its first hooks in you with any one of these prescription pain killers.

Nina Ferraris is the director of John Muir Hospital’s Center for recovery. She says many parents are at first shocked – then ashamed and afraid.

“They’re just trying to save their children and addiction is just so if their lips are moving they’re lying.  It’s very dishonest,” Ferraris said. “Addiction is a dishonest disease.  It does everything to protect the disease.”

As for Bryant, he is facing the truth of his addition and is currently in rehab.


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