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Heroin users speak out

031016 kr heroin can melt1

Ojai Valley News photo by Kimberly Rivers

Gerry Schwanke shows the heroin-cooking tool, made from an aluminum can, he found in front of his Tico Road home in February.

This is the first of a two-part story about heroin use in the Ojai Valley. This week, three people affected by heroin addiction (their names have been changed) tell their stories. Next week, we will look at law enforcement statistics and related issues.

Kimberly Rivers, Ojai Valley News correspondent

Mark and his wife have lived in Ojai for 40 years and believe there is a side to the community few talk about. Their 25-year-old son, Zach, is in a Los Angeles treatment facility trying to recover from heroin addiction.

“People in Ojai who are thinking ‘not my kid,’ they are in total denial. They are not realizing the extent of this,” said Mark.

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