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Heroin abuse is growing in the Tulsa area

Barrett Hesson, program director for Palmer Outpatient Treatment, says heroin is an inexpensive alternative to prescription drugs, but it can come with a lifetime of consequences. (KTUL)

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Heroin use growing in Green Country

The use of heroin has doubled in the Tulsa area in the last couple of years.

Those who treat drug addiction say it's being used by people of all ages, but most addicts are young people.

RELATED: Former cop opens up about losing daughter to heroin addiction

Drug counselors tell Tulsa's Channel 8 you can get a supply of heroin that will last for several days for $20 or less.

Barrett Hesson, program director for Palmer Outpatient Treatment, says heroin is an inexpensive alternative to prescription drugs, but it can come with a lifetime of consequences.

"The part of the brain that controls executive function does not reach full development until age 25," said Hesson. "That impacts a number of areas as far as (users') ability to think, reason and control impulses."

RELATED: Recovering heroin addict shares his story

Untreated addiction now, Hesson says, could create a lot of problems in the future.

"You're going to end up seeing 40- to 50-year-old juvenile delinquents, still acting like they're 18," said Hesson. "Not able to control their wants versus their needs."

In January 2015, the director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics told Tulsa's Channel 8 that more heroin is making its way to Oklahoma.

Director R. Darrel Weaver said heroin was readily available at high school parties.

RELATED: 16-year-old boy shares story of surviving his parents' drug addiction

"You could be a young person at a party experimenting with meth or marijuana and the next thing you know someone starts giving out samples supplied by the dealer," said Weaver. "Next thing you know you've got a needle in your arm."

Experts say heroin is making slaves of people from all walks of life. An undercover deputy with the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office says it's the last thing anyone should try.

"You'd be surprised when you see then," said the deputy who we've chosen not to name. "It would be somebody, business people and stuff. You see all spectrums."

RELATED: Heroin crisis: From addict to advocate

Hesson offered one possible solution to the trend. He suggested we change how we educate children about drugs.

Start young and not wait until students are in middle or high school, said Hesson, because that may be too late.

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