Father of Drug Addict Starts Non-Profit to Fight Against Heroin - 8 News NOW

Father of Drug Addict Starts Non-Profit to Fight Against Heroin

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LAS VEGAS -- Nevada has the fourth highest drug overdose rate in the United States, according to a report by Trust for Americas Health. 

Heroin addiction has recently received a lot of attention following the overdose death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman who overdosed on heroin.

Black Monday is a day to remember those who have lost their fight with heroin. On Monday evening, people will gather in Las Vegas to remember those who have died and to promote awareness about heroin addiction.

"Heroin has been a very harsh word, it carries with it a stigma," said Joe Engle, a father who knows the pain all too well.

His 19-year-old son Reese Engle died two years ago after overdosing on heroin.

"I came home and found my son dead of a heroin overdose. At that time, he had been seven months clean," Engle said.

After grieving the loss of his son, he made the decision to start a non-profit organization called There's No Hero in Heroin. The group is behind the community memorial and wants to help families dealing with heroin addiction.

"Even as family members, we struggle. We don't know where to go or what to do," Engle said.

Doctor Michael Levy provides medical evaluation and treatment of addictive diseases. He's one of the few doctors that offers outpatient treatment in the valley. Levy says the heroin addiction is a worsening problem, especially with younger teens. His youngest patient is just 13-years-old.

"The fear that any day a call will come in from the coroner's office. It definitely affects family and school." 

Levy believes more should be done at schools to stop drug use. He also says families need to have more awareness.

"If you don't seek help, you don't have a chance," Dr. Levy said.

Heroin touches every demographic.

"Addiction does not discriminate. It doesn't matter if you're on Park Avenue or a park bench," Engle said.

The heroin memorial starts at 6 p.m. at the Salvation Army near Rancho Drive and Charleston Boulevard.


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