Second Chances for 'Children of the Mountains'

Launched in 2003, UNITE is an anti-drug initiative that combines law enforcement, treatment and education. Engle works tirelessly, confronting the prescription pill epidemic and educating students about the dangers of using drugs.

The prescription drug abuse rate that Engle sees in the mountains is twice that of major cities like New York or Miami. Kentucky is second only to Utah in prescription drug abuse.

"Every single family in our region has been affected by this," Engle said. "They're somebody's child, somebody's brother or sister, mom or dad, and it's changed the face of our region."

Many of the dealers are users themselves, traveling to places like Detroit or Philadelphia to buy OxyContin in bulk. Paying roughly $40 a pill in the big cities, they return to Appalachia with up to 150,000 pills and mark them up to about $120 because the desire is so great, the profits enormous. Engle said she's seen big dealers make almost $400,000 per month.

More common, though, she says, are the doctors who prescribe the cheaper pills like Xanax or Lortabs. Medicaid will pay for such prescriptions, which users then sell for a $4 to $10 profit per pill.

People will do anything to support their habit: They climb telephone poles to steal copper wires, melt them down and take them to a metal recycler for cash. Police told ABC News it's not uncommon for copper pipes to be stolen right out of the walls of people's houses.

Erica's mother Mona is drinking again, but says she has not gone back to pills.

Courtney: 'We Do Not Have the Money'

Across the mountains in Inez, Ky., 12-year-old Courtney's mother, Angel, also struggled to stay away from prescription pills.

"I would have to have 10 pain pills just to get started, to not be sick," she said. "I would do 30 to 40 a day, easy. There were days I'd go to drug counseling, but as soon as I left, I'd sit in the parking lot and snort a pill."

Courtney said she used to lock herself in the bathroom and cry when her mom got high.

She and her three younger sisters bounced from place to place and are grateful they now have a place to sleep -- at her grandparents' house where their two uncles, one aunt, three sisters, and her mom's boyfriend, Bill, also live.

"Honestly, I'd love for me, my mom, Bill and us girls to have our own home," she said. "But we do not have the money to do that. Bill is wanting to get a job, but we can't because we ain't got a car to get him back and forth."

Angel, 30, was trying to get her life together for the sake of her girls, walking 8 miles -- 2 hours -- each way to her welfare-mandated GED classes. She said that if she can pass the test, she has a chance of getting off welfare and maybe even becoming a teacher. Angel is still sober today.

Angel's mother, Dinah, 49, is happy to have the family under one roof where she can keep an eye on all of them. Talking about her daughter's generation, lost in pills and hopelessness, she said, "This generation is a me generation. It's not lost. They took a U-turn."

She prays that Jesus will help her family and finds solace in the Homecoming Church, run by Pastor Elmer Harris. Ten miles outside of Inez, the church is home to a congregation of families of Calf Creek Hollow. It's not unusual for the daily offering here to be $1.85.

Pastor Elmer said he "prays for God to send someone to help them. Help the poor."

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