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More Oklahomans are falling into the deadly grip of heroin

Heroin continues to be smuggled into Oklahoma. Deaths from heroin overdoses nearly doubled in Oklahoma in 2012.
by Robert Medley Published: May 6, 2013

But with more than 21,000 vehicles entering the country from Mexico at just one El Paso, Texas, border crossing each day, smugglers easily get through and drive heroin north.

The same cartels distributing methamphetamine and marijuana continue to make heroin available in central Oklahoma, Woodward said. Heroin may go for $160 a gram in central Oklahoma, but $360 a gram in cities on the East Coast, he said.

The availability and demand in Oklahoma continues.

“We've arrested 18-year-old users who are unemployed to 40-year-old schoolteachers,” Woodward said.

Thomas “Ty” Boone Pickens IV, the grandson of T. Boone Pickens, died in January of heroin overdose in an accidental death, Tarrant County, Texas, authorities reported.

Medical officials had to wait weeks to receive toxicology and other test results before announcing the cause of death for the 21-year-old junior at Texas Christian University.

‘Don't go down

this path'

The focus for law officers continues to be the source, but state agents also put time into preventing drug use. Educating youths in schools about the dangers of drug use has to be a priority, Woodward said.

“We have to educate kids so they don't go down this path,” he said.

Newberry has been heroin-free since April 1997. He has been remarried 10 years and continues to play drums in local bands while holding a regular job.

Heroin may seem fashionable to some musicians or celebrities, but it is far from glamorous, he said. Newberry contracted hepatitis C from using dirty needles to inject heroin.

“It's the price I have to pay for making the wrong choices in my life,” Newberry said.

And the withdrawal “is terrible,” but he did it. There is help out there for users, Newberry said.

“There is a way to get your addiction under control.”