Mamie Bova's nineteen year old son Carl died on her doorstep. Like hundreds of other Saint Louis area residents in recent years, Carl died from a heroin overdose.
Less than a year later, about ten miles away, sixteen year old Ashley Roberts also died of a heroin overdose.
St. Louis County Medical Examiner Mary Case calls it "an epidemic." Last year, Case determined that heroin killed 79 people in Saint Louis, Jefferson, Saint Charles and Franklin Counties. In the first three months of this year, she found that 33 people died from heroin related overdoses, almost double the rate of last year. Nearly all of them were teens or young adults.
Why is there such a significant increase in heroin related deaths? Heroin is cheap and easily available. In some cases, heroin is mixed with extremely powerful pain killers making it more dangerous.The stigma about heroin is gone. It's now considered a "party drug," that is used at some high school parties.
When I was growing up heroin was always viewed as the hardest of the hard core drugs, often used by "junkies" in the movies. Today, as we discovered during our research, heroin is no longer the last stop for drug addicts.
Sometimes it's used in a teenager's deadly experiment.