69
      Saturday
      85 / 63
      Sunday
      89 / 65
      Monday
      89 / 67

      Meet the new face of heroin in Central New York

      Wendi Owens, 25, is almost six months sober after nearly five years addicted to heroin.

      Wendi Owens is the new face of heroin in Central New York.

      "It was an IV one time and I was in love. I was in love and from that day on it was a love hate relationship. Me and heroin," says Owens.

      Just looking at the 25 Year Old mother from Ithaca, you would never guess that she was addicted to heroin for almost five years.

      "It's the saddest thing in the world, but I can say today seven months ago, heroin was more important than my own son," says Owens.

      Just weeks away from her six month sobriety milestone, Owens describes her legitimate gateway into a miserable world of addiction.

      "I had started with prescription pills. I got a knee surgery and they prescribed me hydrocodones and I liked it. I cant say I didn't. And I realized my knee would become my scapegoat for years to come," says Owens.

      Executive Director of Prevention Network, Brad Finn, calls people like Owens the "working wounded". He describes them as hard working, family people with a legitimate injury getting access to pain medication.

      "Their prescription drug abuse addiction gets too large. They can't afford it. They can't find enough doctors. We have things like the I-STOP act so it's difficult to get scripts, so people turn to the street level substances such as heroin," says Finn.

      Many heroin addicts these days are people who never imagined they would be an IV drug user.

      'I was petrified to get my blood drawn. I would cry with the flu shot. I hated needles. And all it took was the one time," says Owens.

      For Owens, it only took one time to become addicted.

      "I became in love with the needle. I did and I know it sounds crazy. It sounds crazy to me, but it was to the point if I didn't have it I was shooting water," says Owens.

      Owens says if she could speak to future users, she would tell them it only takes a few months for your addiction to cost you everything you care about.

      "That's not just my story. That's every heroin addict's story that I talked to. They lost everything in a very short amount of time," says Owens.