Seven years ago, an 18-year-old La Crescenta man was prescribed Vicodin after a routine surgical procedure. The prescription was all it took for a blossoming painkiller addiction to comfortably settle in.
In 2009, when the pills became too expensive to procure without a prescription — sometimes going for up to $80 a pill — he tried heroin for the first time at the age of 22.
He agreed to be interviewed about his experiences on condition that I withhold his identity.
The overwhelming feeling, the rush of the opiate wading through his veins and the clarity he felt while taking it was indescribable, he said. As cars whizzed by outside a seaside coffee shop, he tried to explain the incredible sensation for which heroin addicts often have difficulty finding words.