MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis paramedics report they're treating more and more children overdosing on opioids.
Chad Corley, a recovering opioid addict, isn't surprised.
"I was in high school and tried one or two pills from a friend of mine," he said.
Corley said he was just 17-years-old.
"I just remember the feeling I got. I was a football player. It helped with injuries. I could lift more weights," said Corley.
He said he then got in a car crash around his high school graduation.
"I remember the doctor giving me an unlimited supply of Lortabs for three years," he told WREG.
Corley snuck more pills when his parents weren't looking.
He said he felt on top of the world, and then suddenly the doctor stopped giving him prescriptions.
"When they cut me off, I went to the streets and found heroin and struggled with it ever since. I'm now 42," he said. "I have a son that's 15. It's very scary."
18-year-old Skyler Feldhaus is also in drug treatment.
"Right before I turned 16, I started using heavily," she said. "I had four of my friends overdose because they had thought it was heroin, but they snorted fentanyl. I just thought I didn't want to be the next person," she told WREG. "[Teens] talk about it like it's some dreamy thing. It'll take away all your problems. That's so not true. It'll create more problems than you ever imagined."
Memphis Fire Department paramedics said they are seeing stories just like this far too often.
Children from all neighborhoods are trying heroin and other opioids.
They told WREG paramedics gave Narcan, a drug administered to reverse a drug overdose.
They said every year, overdose patients get younger and younger.
"Children and teenagers have easy access to these drugs," said Ted Bender, the CEO of Turning Point Addiction Treatment in Southaven. "Everyone in the front lines should be carrying [Narcan]. Hospitals, doctors, nurses, firemen, police officers, EMS workers. It should be everywhere. It should be readily available."
He said it's time all first responders carry Narcan, and parents put a lock on their prescription meds.
"Treat these as a loaded handgun," he said. "Many times they are left unprotected in homes. Children and teenagers have easy access to these drugs."
"I believe it's everywhere now. The wealthy and the poor are in treatment. You have wealthy kids. You have poor kids," said Corley.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a drug addiction, call Turning Point's 24/7 hotline at 1.888.614.2251 or visit them online.