It's being called a drug crisis. An alarming number of people are turning to heroin to get high.
The dangerous drug is killing people and destroying lives. Heroin has moved out of the darkness and into the bright lights of Berks County. The potent drug packs a powerful punch. It's a stronghold that's hard to break free of, and it replaces everything you ever cared about.
"It was a need. It no longer came a want. This is what I had to have," said Sherre Yost, who spent nearly 30 years addicted to heroin.
Yost's life spiraled out of control and it wasn't long before she hit rock bottom.
"I was living outside, sleeping underneath a bridge and doing whatever by any means necessary just to get through a day," said Yost.
Now, she's been clean for two years at Easy Does It Inc., a recovery center in Bern Township. She finally has a relationship with her two grown kids, and she's getting to know her husband for the first time. He is also an addict, but has been clean now for four years.
"Addicts are not available to have relationships because of that powerful relationship they have with their drug," said Drew Eisenhauer, who is with the Council on Chemical Abuse.
COCA is an agency in Berks County that offers resources for people with substance abuse.
"Heroin is tragic, and the thing about that is you never know the purity of the drug you're buying on the street," said Eisenhauer.
According to COCA, studies show 23 percent of people who try heroin become addicted, and drug officials say today's heroin is far more potent than 30 to 40 years ago.
Families are being decimated, and many addicts, people of all ages, are overdosing and dying. That quest to get high destroys everything you ever loved. Take it from Yost, she's fought to find a way out and is now being given a second chance.
"I hope someone will hear my story and seek treatment or do whatever they have to do not to go on the path I went on," said Yost.
There is help, but the first thing you need to do is ask. Drug officials urge parents to get involved and know what your kids are doing and who they're associating with.
For more information on treatment and services, contact the Council on Chemical Abuse at 610-376-8669 and Easy Does It Inc. at 610-373-2463.