Hooked on heroin: High warnings

By Matt Porter

May 13, 2014 Updated May 15, 2014 at 9:51 PM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) As the heroin epidemic rolls on, the drug is appearing in some unlikely places including schools and jails.

Kellie Musa helped found Dreams Over Drugs, a non-profit to provide help to students understand addiction, and works with two other former addicts to warn other students of her past mistakes.

"My morals became broken, my self-confidence became broken, and all the morals my parents instilled in me were no longer strong," Musa told a class of students at Union-Endicott High School.

She had hard truths about her addiction for her old alma mater.

"I would steal from my family, I would steal from my friends," Musa said. "I would use and abuse anyone that meant anything to me."

Decisions that led her to jail five times.

A place where instead of getting clean, some addicts find ways to sneak in drugs.

In Broome County's correctional facility, arrests for heroin in the jails more than tripled from three in 2012 to 10 in 2013.

All other drug possessions saw increases between 2012 and 2013.

Broome County Sheriff David Harder said sneaking in contraband is common, but not rampant.

"Somebody might be able to get a cigarette lighter through their rectum," Harder said, "Those things go on all the time."

The sheriff said the increase in arrests does not mean there's more abuse.

"You're seeing more of it on paper because the officers are being more alert," Harder said, "And taking more action against the people coming in."

President of Dreams Over Drugs, Michael John-Barton said it's important to reach children now before they start a habit.

He calls children growing up now 'Generation H,' a generation flooded by temptation for heroin and other opioids.

He said there challenge is why he helped organize the group.

"It came out of seeing so many kids die and seeing so many families hurt by this problem," John-Barton said.

The addicts hope their tales will leave an impression.

"It could be six months down the road or a year down the road when they all of a sudden realize, 'Wow, all the stuff that guy said would happen, is happening,'" John Barton said.

A hope he can keep students after him away from addiction, and potentially, a life behind bars.