Mothers share stories of fight against heroin addiction

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Theresa Bidwell and Tricia Stouch are on the front line of a war they didn't want to fight, against a drug that's killing thousands of Americans every year.

Theresa Bidwell and Tricia Stouch are on the front line of a war they didn't want to fight, against a drug that's killing thousands of Americans every year.

"I caught him doing it in my bathroom, and I just couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe this could happen to me," said Bidwell, mother.

Bidwell of Levittown, Bucks County, says her son and daughter have been in and out of rehab for years. Their addiction started with prescription drugs and escalated to the cheaper heroin.

"It's just the devil inside them, that's all I can say. It's the devil. Really that's how I look at it," said Bidwell.

"She was responsible. She was working. She saved her money," said Tricia Stouch.

But Stouch's straight-laced daughter Pamela of Aston, Delaware County, overdosed months after leaving rehab at the age of 19.

"Our death rate is higher last year than it's ever been," said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan.

Whelan says more than 100 people died of a heroin overdose in Delaware County last year. In fact, Pennsylvania leads the nation in overdose deaths among young men.

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The heroin epidemic in America is only getting worse every year.



Jeff Goldberg of Any Lab Test Now in Springfield says he's seen an increase in parents testing their children's hair and fingernails for drugs use - a service he wishes he didn't have to offer.

"It's the starting off point to say, 'hey where do we take this and where do we begin the journey to recovery?' " said Goldberg.

"All my free time. Even time I was supposed to be working or studying, I was finding ways to get high," said Stouch.

Stouch, who has become an advocate, reads from her daughter's journal to schools across the region, hoping to stop the epidemic before it claims another life.

"I just thought we would get to kids before they started," said Stouch.

"I want people to know that it can happen to anybody," said Bidwell.

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If you have a loved one suffering from heroin addiction, there are many ways to help.

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healthpennsylvania newshealthcheckheroin
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