Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, January 30 2012 at 6:19 PM, Updated: Mon, January 30 2012 at 6:58 PM
Drug and alcohol abuse in the Rogue Valley is a serious problem. There are 17,000 people in need of treatment in Jackson County and Diana Beers, a recovering methamphetamine addict, knows all about it.
"I really hurt my family and I still have a lot of painful memories," said Beers.
Her painful memories span the 13 years she was addicted to meth.
"There was so much I was hiding, a lot of emotions and a lot of feelings," she said. "Drugs are definitely a problem in the community."
70% of law enforcement agencies surveyed in our area reported meth as their largest threat; But it's not just meth that's running rampant in the Valley.
"I'm really surprised by the amount of heroin that's in our valley now [...] most of our heroin addicts start with prescription pain killers," said Steven Hale. He's the Executive Director of Foundations for Recovery, a new drug rehabilitation program he hopes will be up and running later this year.
"There's been a drug problem in this country, in this county for many years and it's gotten worse and worse," Hale said.
Right now there are only a few resources available with long waiting lists.
Beers said the bad economy could be playing a role in more people abusing drugs.
"There is a lot of people distraught over their situation and drugs take that away, they're an escape."
But for Diana Beers, who's been clean for almost 4 years now, drugs are no longer her escape.
Instead it's programs like Foundations for Recovery that give her hope for the future.
Steve Hale with Foundations for Recovery said he's raised $40,000 and needs another $60,000 to start.
If you would like to donate, you can contact him at 541-245-HOPE.
Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.
Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.
Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.
Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.