The heroin epidemic is just that - an epidemic. Yet, the topic itself has become commonplace.

We read about it each week in our local papers - kids and adults arrested for heroin, syringes, driving under the influence. Police are administering narcan, the nasal spray that counteracts the life-threatening effects of opioid overdose, on a regular basis. They are saving people, sometimes the same person more than once.

Heroin is ruining lives, the lives of the addicts themselves, but also the lives of their family members and friends too.

We’ve talked to police on the front lines, someone in jail for the crimes he committed to pay for his habit, and a recovering addict who has turned his life around and is now helping others. They’ve shared their stories.

"Addicts are very good at manipulating," a recovering addict told us. "I was able to keep everyone at bay."

He used drugs as a "social lubricant," he said, from middle school through high school. But when high school was over, so was the fun.

At 19, he got into pills like percoset and vicodin, opioid pain medication. Then he started using oxycodone. And soon, heroin.

"I was an empty shell," he said. "I was gone. I couldn't do anything but use."

Clean and sober for four years now, this recovering addict had this to say to those who don't believe drugs are a problem here.

"The war on drugs is not being fought in another county, the cities," he said. "It's at our doorstep. It's our mothers, fathers, brothers."

Tell us your storyNow we would like for others to share their stories. First person accounts. What have drugs done to your life? Are you a parent or sibling of an addict? Are you struggling with drugs or in recovery? We want to hear from you, in your own words.

Email us at editor.wmm@strausnews.com. Put "Hooked" in the subject line