Santa Clarita Officials Work To Combat Rising Heroin Use Among Teens

SANTA CLARITA (CBS) — The use of heroin among teenagers in Santa Clarita is on the rise, but the city is fighting back to let young people know that trying the drug just once will end in addiction, and possibly even death.

It was standing room only Tuesday night at a presentation and panel discussion put on by city officials. Parents and recovering addicts shared heartbreaking stories with a crowd of roughly 500 people.

“The last time I physically got to kiss my son, tell him I love him, was on a gurney before the coroner took him away from me,” Krissy McAfee told a packed crowd.

In April 2011, Jeff and Loree Lage lost their 22-year-old son, Cameron, to a short battle with heroin addition.

“That one time, he overdosed and nobody helped him, and he died in his car by himself,” Loree Lage shared.

The symposium focused on informing families about the growing problem within the community.

According to the latest numbers, heroin use has become a big problem nationwide, as well as in the Santa Clarita Valley. Last year, there were 100 arrests and there have been nine overdose deaths since the end of 2009. The Signal reports that approximately 400 residents have suffered non-fatal overdoses in the past year and a half.

“We’ve had more heroin overdoses than we’ve had fatal traffic collisions and these are all 18- to 27-year-olds,” Capt. Paul Becker of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department told CBS2.

“OxyContin’s where it starts at, you know. OxyContin is right before the heroin,” recovering addict 18-year-old Robbie Kraskian told the crowd. “The first time I ever did it was in high school, actually. It’s brought into schools, it’s brought into towns. It just comes here, and it’s with a vengeance.”

The meeting stressed that drug use and addiction can hit families anywhere, even in family-oriented communities like Valencia.

Councilman Frank Ferry told families that after teenagers use heroin one time “they’re either going to be addicted or dead.”

One young woman stepped forward to share her own heroin problem after hearing from the panelists.

  • August 31, 2011 – Daily Brief |

    […] To put that into perspective, Captain Paul Becker says that heroin has killed more young people in the SCV in the last year than fatal traffic collisions. CBS 2 […]

  • TT

    This is a horrible Problem – the schools should have more drug sniffing dog searches to keep it out and watch for the people who arent suppose to be there to begin with ….I have seen a straight A honor roll student for all of her 4 years in high school turn into an addict her last year of school And end up with a police record…. Parents can control control their homes, and make sure they monitor their kids if they are suspicious of those things… but the schools have an obligation to security for a reason – maybe we need a little more…..

  • Santa Clarita Officials Work To Combat Rising Heroin Use Among Teens | Los Angeles for Me

    […] The use of heroin among teenagers in Santa Clarita is on the rise, but the city is fighting back to let young people know that trying the drug just once will end in addiction, and possibly even death. More from:… […]

  • Big H

    The even sader part is when people go into rehab there is herion in there as well, when I confronted the problem with the staff and social workers no one wanted to listen. It is my opinion that they know it is there and are making money from it and feel these people are not going to make anything of themselves anyway. the police have also been informed but NOTHING EVER HAPPENS, sad but true………………..

    • TT

      that is sad… I have never seen this kind of drug use so prevelant – not since woodstock…..And its not that those people want the money – alot of people that work in rehabs are recovering addicts – like i said get the Police Dogs on the job…. they do a better job with their parnters than any human can finding it – they should have state mandated searches in those facilities once a month – unannounced… and if they dont comply no more funding – in other words no more of our tax money gets wasted on a facility that wont “step up to the plate” so to speak – and my tax money goes to help the ones that do…

      • TT

        Ps – if the Army can come in and Flip your bunk to look for contraband – This should be a simple and required process -since in most cases – the people in there are financed by the tax payers thru social service programs

    • Vigilance

      One of the most terrible thing about heroin addiction is that it has just about THE WORST chance of recovery and survivability. Check out some studies sometimes. It is really sad. Repeated rehabs don’t seem to help much. It is a very severe addiction. Very severe.
      One of the problems is that our kids are not supervised to the extent that they need to be. Parents are busy . . working . . . idle hands . . .


    got a fix!!!!! LOL

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  • anonymous

    I am a 22 year old Santa Clarita resident. I’ve had two friends die from heroin and know at least 6 who use everyday. No one understands the severity of this issue and how easy it is to get this drug. When I was in high school (Valencia High) I had a ton of friends who would carry, sell, and do drugs on campus all the time and get away with it. If you want your children, young, or older to be safe get on top of this issue. Don’t think to yourself “my kid would never do that” because they probably have, or at least know someone who does.

  • Kory

    Concerned Parent, I attended the symposium. I have two children in the HART school district. One thing I can see clearly is the schools need to do much more around awareness. This can be accomplished by parent support and the schools and community not sweeping this under the rug. Seems to me we have a BIG PINK ELEPHANT in the room. Kids are using Herion and are scared. They need a safe place to go. The school administrators do not know what to do. Let’s get SMART and have addiction counselers on campus to educate. If we dont do more, we may be at our own child funeral. I have some idea’s. See you at the next PTA,PTO meetings….

  • Jeanie Williams

    My son is a heroin addict. For about a month now, he’s waiting a spot to be treated w/ this rehab accepting no insurance. Please help me and my son to help him to get drug treatment the soonest as possible and save his life. We have been to county hospital 2x and mental heath clinic and advised him to go to rehab. I have contacted several drug rehab but they are looking for insurance. My son has depression/schizophrenic and fell into using drugs. It took us for a long period to convince him to get treated but now he is willing to be treated and he can’t get into any of drug rehab. Please someone out there, who can guide and help my son get treated the soonest possible, I deeply appreciate very much for saving my son’s life.

    • Tish

      Call Teen Challenge or Salvation Army. They both have free treatment programs that work.

    • Tish Coffey

      Hi Jeanie. Were you able to look into any of the rehabs that were suggested? I pray for you and your son and trust that he will win this battle. Please keep me posted if you are comfortable in doing so. You may also reach me privately at There is hope. Be strong and NEVER give up.

    • Caring Mom

      Contact Beit T’Shuvah in Los Angeles, CA at! They will not turn anyone away based on their inability to pay and they are MUCH more affordable than most rehabs. They are on Venice Blvd and they are doing wonderful things there!! Call now!

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  • Tish Coffey

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  • Kat

    I am happy to see that people are still talking about this. My daughter has opened up to me about this being a horrible problem among her age group. I was horrified to learn the young kids that I have watch grow up abusing heroin. My heart breaks for all the “kids” and families being faced with this killer epidemic.

    Recent reports to me about the behaviors of one Detective in Santa Clarita is extremely disturbing – threats to these kids to “stay in the game or else” – it would appear his practice certainly isn’t taking an interest in trying to help families with addicted members rather quite the opposite. He needs to be exposed!

    In the meantime, thank you for the references of places that can help the kids I care about!

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