More die from overdose than car crash
The numbers cannot be ignored. More people are dying from prescription drug and heroin overdoses than in car accidents across the country.
Now, a former Maryland police officer is speaking out.
As reporter Jennifer Donelan from our sister station in Washington, D.C. explains, it was his job to fight drugs, but the heroin epidemic changed everything.
Former Hagerstown police sergeant Kevin Simmers spent more than 2 decades in the drug war -- then came heroin. "It's unlike any drug or epidemic that I have ever seen in my career," said Simmers.
It changed him. "My whole view on the drug war was wrong," said Simmers.
After it struck the smiling love of his life, his own daughter, who got addicted to heroin and he couldn't help her.
His daughter Brooke had grown into a beautiful athletic teenager. "When she finished with high school that summer was when she started to take pills," said Simmers.
Opioids-- the cheaper more deadly version is heroin. "My daughter meant everything in the world to me and she came to me asking to please help her and make this go away. We took her to a halfway house and dropped her off this is place I wouldn't drop my dog off," said Simmers.
Brooke continued to relapse. "I caught her sneaking out one night, she was on the front lawn in a fetal position begging me to shoot her because she said she couldn't stop using.
She went back to her dealer's house. "They shoot her up again and this time she overdoses again and they threw her out of the house.
She got in her car and managed to drive to a church where she used to play basketball. "And on the church parking lot she crawled into the back seat of her car and she died there from the overdose of heroin," said Simmons.
Brooke was 19-years-old. He holds on to his now firm belief... "That for 25 years as a police officer working narcotics and such I feel like I was wrong. I mean I locked people up who were in the same shape as my daughter and they needed help.