Meth, opiods, plague South Mississippi

"The addiction is always there."

David Roberts was on the fast track to catastrophe at a tender age.

"I took my first amphetamine pill at the age of fifteen in Louisiana," he said.

He had a curiosity to try new things.

"My involvement with heroin is not what you see on TV."

He said he took a pill form.

"Heroin is physically addictive," Roberts said.

He added that he never tried to "shoot up." He added that his drug of choice was meth.

"Nothing compares to meth. Nothing."

Although meth is highly addictive, opioid addiction is on the rise. Heroin use in the United States has nearly doubled since 2007. Millions of people a year end up hospitalized, and deaths resulting from overdose are on the rise, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN.)

For years, Roberts was addicted to opioids and meth.

"I went to rehab in 2003, and I have been one hundred percent sober since 2005."

David said that, oftentimes, he wasn't accepted for his addiction; however, when he began attending 38th Avenue Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, he found acceptance.

"I catch myself looking at people and say, "'Lord, help them. There's something wrong with them,"' 'cause once you've been there, you know what to look for."'

His eyes welled with tears.

"The judgmental part of society... It gets to me," Roberts said.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, an increase in production of heroin in Mexico means the drug is now cheaper and easier to find in the United States than in years' past. An earlier investigation in 2010 found that heroin does exist in Hattiesburg. Almost 28 pounds of heroin was found in an engine compartment of a Dodge truck at a traffic stop, amounting to a million dollars.

Painkillers could be a gateway drug to heroin abuse, according to federal drug officials. Steve Maxwell with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics says prescription abuse is plaguing the State of Mississippi.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, medications that fall within the opiod class include hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet), morphine (e.g., Kadian, Avinza), codeine, and others.

According to a study by Harvard, opioid addiction creates long-term changes in the brain.