Opioid addiction plagues the Mid-South

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. -- Katie Walker told WREG she started popping prescription pills just for fun.

"Before I knew it, I was fully addicted to them. I couldn't go a day without them," she said.

The opioids led to harsher street drugs and court dates.

Her life spiraled out of control.

"It cost me my marriage, my children, my home, my car, my animals. It cost me everything."

Katie's story is similar to many others in the Mid-South and across the country.

"It has reached epidemic proportions," said Karen Morgan with Addiction Campuses. "143 prescriptions for painkillers per 100 people in the state of Tennessee. That's unbelievable."

Addiction Campuses started a program in 2012 that led to a decrease in the number of written prescriptions.

"But what it also did is it helped to fuel the heroin epidemic."

She said advocates are working on prevention efforts like educating the community and addressing the need for treatment.

However, they still need help from local and national lawmakers.

"Absolutely. Funding. That's -- in one word: funding. There isn't enough funding."

Health care leaders said the money that is available isn't always easy to tap into.

But as those working to fight addiction try to fix the problem, they asked those who need it to seek treatment.

"There's hope. Don't be afraid to ask for help."