Drug overdose deaths on the rise

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Drug overdose deaths are up at an alarming rate.

The CDC reported heroin and opioid deaths are up 14 percent nationally, but there are things you can do to help a loved one who is at risk.

Native New Yorker Marlena Alvarado has battled addiction for as long as she can remember.

"I was introduced to heroin. Then I started going to doctors for OxyContin, fentanyl, that kind of thing."

Now she is getting treatment through Addiction Campuses in Southaven.

She has been there since November 10, but since checking in, she has already lost five friends back in New York to overdose deaths.

"That's five people in 42 days," she said.

Addiction counselor Karen Morgan said addiction impacts people from all walks of life.

"It's across all disciplines, all areas of life that it impacts."

The CDC released numbers showing heroin and opioid overdose deaths are up across the country, including in the Mid-South.

Deaths in Tennessee increased 7.7 percent from 2013-2014.

Mississippi went up 7.4 percent, and Arkansas rose by a staggering 13.5 percent.

"I'm not at all surprised," Morgan said of those numbers. "There's an epidemic going on that's only getting worse."

Part of the problem comes from doctors overprescribing painkillers.

Then if people cannot get enough refills, some addicts will turn to heroin because it is cheap.

But there are ways to help a loved one suffering from addiction.

"It's very important to involve the entire family," Morgan said. "We actually have just released $100,000 in scholarships, because we don't want money to be a factor."

While the road to recovery is a long one, Alvarado will be the first to tell you it is a road worth traveling.

"You're playing with fire, that's what you're doing. I consider myself a walking miracle given all the things that I've done."

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