UPDATE: 9:15 PM 5-20-14
Black tar, brown sugar, china white, smack.
No matter what you call it, heroin is a huge problem in our area.
Two local moms know all too well.
“It's devastating 'cause well, you just, you're unaware,” says Helen Collins of Parkersburg. “I found his body and it was horrible."
Kate Deely dabbled in drugs as a teen and got clean, but doing dope at 28 with a friend sent her on a dangerous course.
"The last couple of weeks that she was living, her and her boyfriend started arguing and she resorted back to using the heroin,” says Tami McEowen of Parkersburg.
Collins' grief spills over after losing her son Taylor Williams to a $1,500 a month heroin habit at only 34-years-old. After seven years clean, he just couldn't shake it.
"When he died he was on a waiting list through Westbrook (Health Services) to go to a rehabilitation, but there are just not enough facilities – to meet the needs that we have and he had been on that list for over six months. Went all over the country practically trying to find him help."
These are the faces of addiction; it's your son, it's your daughter -- it's your neighbor, don't let it be your child.
"They think about it everyday; they don't have the skills to combat the feelings of need that heroin, the euphoria that the heroin would give them,” Collins says. “They steal, they do whatever they can -- to be able to get their next fix."
Some call it a disease, others free will.
"Katie took that action upon herself; Katie made that choice -- and that's something we all have to accept."
Drug addiction is a global epidemic but Helen and Tami don't want their kids to be another statistic. The only relief comes with taking up this cause to help others and starting the Ka-Tay Addiction Foundation in honor of Katie and Taylor.
"Otherwise I'd just be sitting home crying all the time and living in my own torture,” Collins says.
The women say keep an eye on your kids, get involved and most of all communicate.
It could save their life.
$1,500 a month habit.
And a life lost to the drug of choice claims one of our own here at home.
Taylor Williams was only 34-years old when he died of a heroin overdose last October.
Mom Helen Collins says that's the only thing addicts think about – the habit is all consuming.
She started the Ka-Tay Addiction Foundation to educate the community about this epidemic.
“Otherwise I'd just be sitting home crying all the time and then living in my own torture,” Collins says. “So this is my way of helping other people in the community.”
The number of West Virginians who have died from heroin-related overdoses has tripled over the past five years.
Health officials say people are turning to heroin because it's cheaper - and often more potent - than prescription painkillers.