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Former addict talks about long recovery


The highest overdose death rates from heroin in the nation are here in the Mountain State but what is being done to help addicts.

It was the best worst feeling of Jacob Kessler’s life.

“I remember it still, so it had an effect on me to make me want to obtain more, continue using, and move forward and progress in my addiction,” said Jacob Kessler

His first experience with oxycodone at 20 quickly turned into an expensive and dangerous addiction at the height of his use he was doing 20 to 30 pills a day at 30 dollars a pill.

The price tag drove him to start trafficking to support his habit.

“As delusional as this sounds, even when I was indicted it didn’t hit me how serious it was because I was still in that pill trap, I was still in that addiction,” said Kessler.

Jacob was addicted to a pill form of opiates but that’s how 75% of heroin users start.

Everyday people struggling with heroin addiction are asking where do I get help many are put on weight lists at rehabilitation centers.

In West Virginia, inpatient facilities seem to be clustered around big cities making it hard to get treatment in rural areas.

In the Northern Panhandle, Northwood Health Systems said their crisis detox centers are almost always 80% full with people detoxing off heroin.

“A lot of times the short term detox followed by outpatient or intensive outpatient is just as successful in treatment and it isn’t than you can move onto long term residential,” said Jeremy Sagun, Northwood Health Systems.

Jacob said it takes a wake up call for many heroin and opiate users he knows, and when he ended up in jail and in front of a federal judge that’s when things changed.

“Drug court really does help for somebody that has a criminal problem, but what if you don’t have a criminal problem, where are you to go?,” said Kessler.

Another way people struggling with heroin addiction are getting help the Help 4 WV Hotline. Changing the course of treatment this phone number gives anyone access to help wherever they are in this “Hello, Help for West Virginia, How can I help you?”

Miracles Happens, where Jacob got clean is recognized as a premier treatment center across the state. For them, it’s all about helping addicts get the courage to turn from pills and heroin back home.

“They look in the mirror and they say hey you’re a junkie, you’re a drunk, well no you’re not, you’re a human being. You’re somebody’s brother, somebody’s

“There are things around here, but there needs to be, so much more,” said Kessler.

If you need help, or know someone who does, check out

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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