As more Coloradans die from heroin overdoses, we hear how cheap black tar heroin began making its way from a small city in Mexico to cities like Denver and Colorado Springs in the 1980s and 1990s.
The drug carfentanil, a synthetic opioid used as an elephant tranquilizer in China, recently surfaced in Colorado and has already led to at least two deaths in the state.
In an area ravaged by the opioid crisis, Dr. Barbara Troy is the only doctor for miles who can prescribe a key drug for those in recovery.
"Rarely do we see a health metric that moves so quickly and is so widespread," said Tamara Keeney, a policy analyst at the Colorado Health Institute.
Patricia Byrne, whose son is a recovering heroin addict, wants other families to talk about a problem she thinks many keep secret.
- Officials hope that a family member or friend may be able to administer a naloxone spray more quickly and easily to someone who may be overdosing.Read more
Having police, school nurses, drug users and family equipped with kits to reverse an overdose saves lives, doctors say. But reversing addiction requires follow-up care that many users aren't getting.
Most experts seem to think it’s a combination of factors -- economics, ease of access, and even that there’s just less to do in southeast Colorado.
Only 6 percent of Colorado's population lives in southeast Colorado, yet it represents 18.1 percent of heroin treatment admissions.
Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen is working to put the anti-overdose medication naloxone into the hands of as many heroin users as possible. But the price of the antidote has nearly doubled.