“It’s getting a lot younger” – discussing the Opioid epidemic from the front lines

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Opioid addiction is an epidemic in the U.S. It’s in nearly every community, including Huntsville. Kevin Mays works with addicted men at the Downtown Rescue Mission, and you could say he’s on the front lines of this serious battle.

“Probably about a third of the people that we encounter every day use opiates, heroin, Oxycontin, roxies (Roxycontin,) and it is a growing problem that we’ve seen over the last few years. It’s actually growing where we’re not only seeing older people who’ve had a shoulder injury, got prescribed Oxycodone, and later on turned to heroin, but we’re seeing a lot younger audience as well. We’re seeing kids as young as 18, 19, 20, 21-years-old. I think that’s probably the scariest trend that I’ve seen in the last few years. It’s getting a lot younger, and a lot more aggressive as it moves toward those younger ages.”

According to the Madison County Coroner, 1 out of every 5 deaths in the county this year has been due to opiate overdose.  Mays says these figures don’t surprise him.

“What is scary about that is, if you were to talk to firemen or HEMSI responders, that number could be a lot larger because of the number of calls that they have and they’re able to respond with drugs to get the person back. But, we have had people with multiple overdoses that are still alive, and are still in our facilities. So because of the reaction time that HEMSI has done, and our firemen, and police officers, that number could actually be a lot higher.”

Watch our entire interview with Kevin Mays here: