NEW YORK (PIX11) — Teri Kroll remembers going to the hospital, the ninth time that her son, Tim, tried to kill himself. This time, he was trying carbon monoxide poisoning in the family garage.
Before he regained consciousness, a family friend told Mrs. Kroll that her son, then in his early 20s, was using heroin. He was worried that if his parents knew, it would kill them.
“I just said to him, ‘Timothy, whatever you do or say is not going to kill me,” Teri Kroll recalled. “We’re your parents, and we’re here for you. And I could just see the relief in his face.”
Timothy Kroll—a surfer and one-time Catholic school kid—lost his battle against heroin addiction, a couple of months before his 24th birthday, when he fatally overdosed in his bedroom.
His downward spiral into drug use began at 19, when a corrupt doctor prescribed dangerous pain killers for Tim’s migraines. The teen was already struggling with anxiety issues.
His story hammers home that heroin addiction knows no socio-economic boundaries anymore. It’s now invading the middle class, from Staten Island to Long Island.
Nothing is sacred for drug cartels, as kilos of heroin are smuggled inside religious tombstones from South America to a warehouse at 80 Georgia Ave. in Brooklyn. The Drug Enforcement Administration provided PIX 11 with the video above of agents smashing open the grave markers, many with images of the Virgin Mary on the front. Inside, agents found several kilos of heroin wrapped in plastic.
The addiction often starts with young teens dabbling in pain killers, which are opiates—like heroin—that give a euphoric high. But the pain killers are expensive. Once addiction sets in, users need to get that high cheaper, and heroin does the trick.
The Department of Homeland Security sent PIX 11 Investigates the video above of elaborate drug tunnels dug from safe houses in Mexican border towns, to Nogales, Arizona in the United States. Trolleys and humans can navigate through the tunnels, carrying heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.
“There’s a huge supply of heroin in the city now and in surrounding areas,” Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Bridget Brennan, told PIX 11 Investigates. “We’re really the epicenter” for heroin distribution in the Northeast, Brennan told PIX11.
PIX11 Investigates reported nearly five years ago on the heroin epidemic that was exploding on Long Island, in Nassau and Suffolk, with paramedics responding to an average of three overdoses a day.
Heroin use was beginning among middle school and high school students.
The plague is now enveloping all five boroughs of New York City, upstate, and across the Northeast: in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
New York City is the epicenter for distribution of heroin.
Staten Island has received recent attention as the New York City borough suffering the worst uptick in heroin use. Seizures of the drug there have increased 300 percent.
And while the homicide rate in New York City has dramatically declined in the last twenty years, fatalities from drugs remain about 700 a year, with a large portion of those coming from heroin and cocaine.
Only about four deaths a year are blamed on the club drug MDMA, which PIX11 reported on this week.
Nearly 700,000 people nationally over the age of 12 are using heroin.