Young people battle heroin addiction

Chris Cuomo follows the journeys of three young people caught in the powerful grip of heroin addiction.
37:23 | 12/03/19

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Transcript for Young people battle heroin addiction
You and I are going on a difficult journey. The statistics alone are alarming the number of heroin users has nearly doubled in just the past three years even more surprising. Maybe the face of the new addicts. Tonight you're going to meet kids from families you never thought could fall victim to drugs families who did everything right and still their kids are hooked. Believe me this is a trip worth taking. And literally just. Running. There's nothing I can think of that's coming. This is actually. She's just when he one years old and smoking as many as 100 hits of heroin a day. Even people look at me and me and they see that I live in really is Hollis and that and now look like. I heroin it's. Ashley lives in a suburb outside Minneapolis. The idea that heroin addiction is reserved for the inner city is wrong as you'll see. Heroin he's getting stronger and the users in the Twin Cities getting younger. Carol Lin is considered the most addictive and dangerous narcotic. Named after the word heroic because it gave users the feeling of euphoric power. Today heroin is worse than ever dealers have made it stronger cheaper and easier to smoke in a deadly combination. But the haren Texas what I do is I take. Restaurant and office with just one hit you could be hooked. Actually puts the heroin on tin foil earns it and inhaled the fumes this is not supposed to happen to you too Smart too many people who love you. Too much money and potential. And are nine years be that kind of person. And neither did her mom Sherry in step dad Paul who say they were caught off guard by their daughters addiction. She's so animated features to do all kinds of funny things. She's beautiful girl she just had so many dreams you know that any kitchen happen. Alps disappeared. During Ashley's freshman year in college a so many kids do she experimented with drugs and alcohol. She says her friend convinced her to smoke which she thought was hatch a form of marijuana. And I don't think house about. I thought I'll analyze it wasn't hash out what was as Harold. How long did it take for you to go from sampling it to being hooked. Now. She soon dropped out of college quitter job. And began the life of a full time junking. The first thing I think of when I wake up in the mornings lessening I think of my go to bat that's what my life revolved around his sister. It's taken over but he definitely. And it's ravaged her inside and out changing her voice damaging her skin. Weakening her immune system. She lives with her parents cook combed in the basement of what she calls her dungeon. This place has all the trappings. Of chunky and I can smell when I walked around standards that's not from gardening now that is your sort that's your residents from use for one. That Reza in the dark sticky residue of black tar heroin is everywhere impossible to miss substances. Phone. Ashley says she hides of the foil because she doesn't want her parents to find it in the trash it's. Little diet representing. How much she's taken the time. Find you like a bait like six minutes. These bags are tiny balloons dealers used to package heroin dozens of MPs hide in plain sight underneath a smiling Buddha. And this is an all right this is just tell us us like this where. And that adds up. At fifteen bucks a bag actually has to come up with a thousand dollars a week to support her habit. Even more surprising than the price the source most of the money comes straight from her parents. You sicken me forty bucks and they asked why and you say because. I and they go do something with my friends' sons. That's he's not saying we're from. It's really not that simple as you'll see you later on but one thing's for sure strain on this family is taking it still. An early sick feeling to know that's my parents' money and they're really Sox not an iron hand. Nineteen year old Justin Ashley's pal from home is 15100 miles and a world away. In Portland Maine. That's our troops. Goes. Former model search. For ourselves our. But today just in as a kid on the road to nowhere. His life in Minnesota just a memory bluff. Think. The once bright faced boy who loved the outdoors and plan to follow in his father's footsteps in the family pipe fitting business. Just and is now a ghost of his former self. Instead of two years of college under his belt PS3 stents in rehab and paid for by his grandparents. Here's a picture affair Lauren. Just searched. Their mother. Pictures. So when did you stop being like everybody else is ideal kid. I asked myself you know warned of this have been where is it time ago. I went to a small private school loan is should be all star athlete at. Unlike Ashley Justin started very early with drugs first was marijuana eventually escalating to heroine how could it have been nipped in the bud. Where was the missed opportunity. Pick I don't think it could have been kept. I think I would move. Had to find out for myself wasn't. Drugs were. A year ago as a last ditch effort to get just didn't clean his parents sent him to a halfway house in Maine boxer turned addicts are owner Norman house. Merely had some phone. But after just three months of sobriety he couldn't shake the cravings. Came here got so we're going. Just a now lives alone in a sparse apartment decorated with a poster of Marilyn Monroe. I'll. She's my Guerrero. He keeps a spoon in his box of honey bunches of votes but it's not for breakfast. Just a cook these drug of show us. Like Ashley he doesn't have a job and his parents unwittingly fund his haven't. Wiring up to a hundred dollars a week making its for food. Should. Cash Baja. So that is brilliant send it. Eric. To him exciting means how you cannot time. He can get high here. Who is banned in other words by drugs went for people to call. Is daily routine safer if have and are called back and endless waiting game both 6 o'clock. And former friend of Johnston sits alone in the dark for hours wondering when he's going to get that call from his dealer. Tonight just in settles for a cheaper alternative so boxes like methadone to it curbs his craving for don't. This. Next bust. To us. Another two it is. If I didn't have that it be. Nevertheless. The every week. Every day. It's Tuesday morning in long lake Minnesota an affluent suburb of Minneapolis. And actually is waking up with one thought in mind. Scoring heroines. That's its discount given it. With PGA's on. A piece of tin foil in hand. We head with Ashley downtown to south Minneapolis. For a look inside the life of a suburban junkie. Done this drive like hundreds of times. Hundreds of pan back. To many. The sun is shining but Ashley has a dark task ahead. She's on her way to buy black tar heroin a cheap and potent form of the drug that's flooded the streets. Half I'm at 36 and that let ours I at all. He tells Ashley we are to meet. Are egging me eight minutes. Exact opposite I dozen charts you know his name. My real name Amy got quite worrying about it. She says she doesn't get scared but perhaps she should. This is one of the most dangerous sections of the city with 300 assaults and more than sixty rapes last year. This waiver and and I was hurt us and that's I followed it into an Alley did you welcome to the car exchanges. Drugs or money can't buy if I've got the driver is citing year old son is analogous to that window. Simple as. This is a trip actually takes up to three times a day every day often alone. Ashley drops us off and disappears down the street. Ten minutes later she returns with heroin in little balloons package so dealers can safely swallow the drug if caught by police. Ashley is now clearly high. So I drive home site if you have. A lot less anxious. Feel morally relax. What should you smoke. Three. But those three hits don't last very long back home she's at it again. It's like a little tiny fall. Tenacity just. She disappears enter her room. But the black resin smudges and obvious reminder of what's happening behind closed doors. Perry and I. There's like 1234564. Nationally it's not about the rush hours aren't you. It's not a joy. I mean I just. Mainly due are now just two. I myself well. The drug is now like medicine offsetting their heroin withdrawal a sickness actually describes as ten times worse than the flu. His feeling you cold. Muscles hurt me. He sought records. Leone. On them trying of this where things. Don't feel hungry. No I have bus they consent payment to close. An important using a home. And when she's too ill to drive downtown she arranges for special delivery. My money in the mailbox my friends because my money and then job. How do you know whether this stuff in the mailbox that put up the flag. Hosni Colleen. So mixed in with the bills and cooking magazines there's an unmarked envelope with four balloons of heroin. I can't believe that these dots enough well as what my life has revolved around since. And leave the room. Preparing. And then is doing then. Share heinous on this terrible. Her friend just and is a more familiar kind of addict he does drugs for a simple reason. He loves the high. How long's it last probably fifteen seconds that's the rub so all of this. For fifteen seconds. All for factions again. And it's a Taurus what is it about the cravings. That override reason. That override everybody's attempt to love you that disease of addiction and so is inevitable close there come across cities load altering chemicals. Ashes fell all of throw. Here it's true or. Run on the couple's. To get as you know should. He often steals for drug money and actually has their own tricks one of them is begging. I guess it's. Companion. Being mean I just walk up to some people. Pastor like dollars you know for some gaps. What's the most you've gotten. I got like 35 dollars and lake pleasant. Side. Best actress now. When she gets desperately to even steal from her parents I just sprayed his signatures. You just can't do. Forty dollars. Skull yeah. Deep down Ashley knows she's just one step away from the life of one of her friends. Follow the guys in their car and Ashley introduced us to this nineteen year old former straight a student. Who's now selling her body on the street for as little as twenty dollars. She wanted to tell us her story but asked us to hide her face and change your voice. What made you think. About selling your body. To get trucks I'd. Had no other way and I figured five minutes and made time for that much money it's not that important anymore it doesn't matter what you do and during those five minutes though. And usually high when it's all going on how many guys a day. Talking lately it's been about 45. Sort of ideas are currently fifteen cents and it. I don't feel like there's any lower category now. Decides to. You yeah. I didn't only news. I was asked days. On the Minnesota mom sings out to her for teenage sons. One of them is in deep trouble. Mountain snow and sand and that is. Two. Room news. And so. Oh. Carolyn is that her wit's end. Just twenty years old her son Dylan has been in and out of rehab five time it's. Dylan is also a drug dealer and like a lot of kids he started selling at a young age as a way to be popular. Everyone knew me as a person you if you cast could. In fact actually and Justin were two of his customers. I gave Manila and I told what to do I don't know just never would have shot up heroin. If I didn't tell on that history. And like the other kids in our story Dolan has a loving family. He's the oldest of four in a tight knit band of Brothers twins Ryan and Andy and the baby of the bunch fifteen year old Austin. Always looked up so and a much smaller. Including here pets. He set the tone bill. When Dylan's teenage years hit the outdoors. Spending hours in his room smoking pot in drinking. I think a troop doing blood shot. Dylan would crash three cars in five months and started stealing his parents pain pills like OxyContin. Which proved to be a gateway drug to heroin. Dylan's way of dealing with the normal anxieties of being a teenager was to do drugs. I Terry hanging out with the kids who water. Access to drugs and drugs yes I would I felt so insecure about myself in the time and I thought the leader of that group. And because I can be innovative. Football players not a land old friends. So while his twin Brothers were making it big on the high school football field. Dylan was busy killing time in a bathroom stall. That myself you know. Doable and offered just frustrate some judgment Velika ideally for class. Dillon soon dropped out of high school is new classroom the south Minneapolis streets. His family tried to do the right thing sending him to rehab five times. But each time the pull of the drug has proven too strong. Today his family is come together fearing his life is on the line this meeting may be Dylan's final reckoning. It would have been here for your brother who were written something to flirt her way. It's different per. Hour bill tutor berg leads interventions for the nationally renowned Karen treatment centers he guides the conversation. Here is. Dillon. My son I love you. In fact so much that I thought it could help me and protective. I want our family healed with his dad bill tries to remain optimistic and hope to with the faith you're just gonna crawl. I need and want Iceland back Dylan's Brothers lay everything bear. If your experience in jail watching this story so. Well appreciated Iran's honesty. And it's something and it here. No one seems to be saying the right there immensely but will he find the strength. To finally face his addiction. Students and. Just a few miles away Ashley's family is in crisis. Us and thinking. After trying to stop her drug use for years they say they're now afraid if they push too hard she may be lost to the streets. Like many families in their position they feel powerless ever lived in the house where everybody is screaming at each other it's like a war. The last thing you wanna do was confront confront confront illegal. But the decision to accept the status quo has come at a high price if you walked into that room. You can't not see that you are in any drug den. This is heavy use I mean all those blacks things that you see on the white furniture. She always told me she is digging for cigarettes that's higher singers are all black. Digging we're second ash and her ashtrays. For sick that's very often parents are blind to what can be obvious to an outside. Where you think she goes share. NASCAR where he had it on our parking Exxon. She's going to buy drugs that's where she's gone. She says she goes through a hundred bucks worth of stuff in no way. She. Should get money every way that you can imagine she gets she's steal stuff from around here she stolen your checks. You've set her up with a situation in your basement. She has no need to ever stop doing drugs she has everything she wants right here people love her constant flow of cash. And safe place and access to drugs. Unless he's he's so yeah you're saying if we just kind of went along with this at some point he's gonna come to some realization that. She needs to break the cycle and do something about it from Ashley's perspective. She believes it you guys are aware but don't really want to know because if you really know it's so upset. That you want to be she seems normal from what I think is normal. And with the realization that nothing has been normal in her home for a long time Sherry can no longer deny what's been staring her straight in the face. Right now you act like your hires something. Your eyes -- being you're now focusing. Mean half open. Through still using her visit. In amstel. It using. If I could stop I want him gone as far as dropping out of school quitting my job in secretary day so horrible it two we're. Sherri was nervous that this confrontation would push Ashley further away. But instead it's pushing Ashley in a new direction. I am really just rivers you. Then on a quiet for so Long Island. And now realize that I can't do have my own. All across America heroine has taken hold. The number of users has nearly doubled since 2007. Almost 100000. People are hooked. And cops are chasing the dealers as fast as kids are chasing behind the border here here. A we watch in broad daylight as pension heroin change me. It. Lacked any. And the yeah. Police descend on the car and see precious cargo in the back seat. A child. And this isn't the inner city this is a suburban mall parking lot in Suffolk county New York. One of the richest communities in America. Here a young man enters a black Jeep. I have. Or. He's caught with 200 bags of heroin his sidekick his mother. Before we leave this Sargent shows us how dealers' market the drug with names like Google and MySpace. On dispatch as ever there. And it is a frightening new air in the last decade heroin deaths have increased by at least 50%. A scourge affecting every one. We've been following kids from solid suburban families who now know the harsh realities of heroin addiction. Or rose six my friend. Shot along. Laughter go get a cup water. Came back and he's currently in there like this with and you know stores arm and it started like K yeah. Cops and and this was from losers. Are blue. What did you do. Actually committed a shaken mignon. He came to. Which. Relieve. And did you shoot up. Greta dress. Lines. But to see that can still shoot up right afterwards I didn't do as much as she'd and hell below us. As my irrational position. Bottom line. Nothing's gonna scare you straight here statement. As has an hour everything I've experienced. Mr. Bush. But there's one experience he hasn't had. Jail and that's where he's heading for attempted burglary. Jail attacks and so where. As the deadline to the lock up approaches Justin's C sells between being a hardened team in a remorseful son. Asher. And through. It just seems like a song or come back for. Just a shame of changing their lives forever. Just because there aren't sure lurch. He's kept jail a secret from his little sister thinks he's going camping. Which explains her care package of Girl Scout Cookies that don't offer much comfort. There's only one sure fire fix to snap just in out of his stupor. Named by fortune jurors for our government. With just two hours of freedom left Justin is back in the game and huge rush acutely. Yeah it yeah. Back home stashed in hand he calls his parents. And its you know shortness. Demo. And about ten motorists. Should slow car. But the most painful goodbye is probably what we see. In this video he shot of himself. Or alert you ramble on here. It's one of smokers from. Justin finally arrives at the Portland county jail this. Dual cameras phones. She first and be pretty. As Justin makes his bed for his first night in the sell a new day dawns for the man who used to deal him drugs Dylan. Who's agreed to rehab one more time. That I can. It's my last shot. And unlock disappointment this myself. Karen Renaissance is offering him a free ride in fact they spend nine million dollars a year on scholarships to help addicts get clean like Ashley. She's also headed to a parent program for her first try treatment and lines like when it's it's over and it's average. Would be chants of relapse greater than 80%. The odds are stacked against her. Right Angeline every single numbers so you is there any other. But Ashley is ready for battle I am throw away. My paraphernalia. Lake tin foil rush I have a lot. From school. But through this. As she heads off to the airport an anthem of sorts plays on the radio how to save a life. Why the for a. Welcome Karen and really to me. Stephanie. Yeah. Yeah and needs. You know we're okay. Time. The family of one of our Adams endures his funeral. Luckily for them and Dylan it's part of a therapeutic exercise a Caron Renaissance in Florida. After 43 days of intensive counseling Dylan's progress remains poor. This mock ceremony on last ditch attempt to break through. But remember this is Dylan's six stent in treatment. Old habits die hard in fact 78%. Of heroin addicts in rehab have been there before. Gillen knows his entire family has been held hostage by his addiction. Yet his cravings still control. I have cravings. It's place is over. Trying to give us of excuses. Use. Excuses that worry his therapist. Behof. Announcing the company's bills coping skills meaning one meaning someone able to deal with. Their feelings if you went back out tomorrow along that you list I don't think you month. And neither does do she sends it to pull your movies. The need every night viewing viewing people get it about addiction. I think that people think that it's about will power I've heard family members say. In a few extra he could just put it down night news and it has nothing to do. When it because I think if someone isn't that something you lose your will power and guests. And that's why family involvement becomes so critical to the recovery process sometimes requiring an unconventional. Course of action. It. Dillon's parents say they're willing to do what ever it takes to help their son. Here they hit a rubber blocks access anger. Caroline takes over there's no holding back. The lightning have it's not a. Are there. Things. Dillon who says he took heroin to numb himself finally starts to feel. You know it's heading out here myself where the way it treatment friendly. There's lot of shame in gilts. Meanwhile Ashley's parents are hitting a different obstacle how to relate to their daughter is squandering its. Art and notice a change. She's late night. She spent time. And how could they know what to expect from a daughter they stopped recognizing long ago. I was really happy to see you obviously because you're finally portrayed nudity help her and sober you know. Sober and ready for a true heart to heart and say secrets keep defects. And you know us Illinois. And understand addiction so. Her parents are finally coming to terms with how their own denial enables their daughter's drug addiction. I'd ask her are you line heroin and should say no and I believed her and I slept that and Alice enabling. After just 23 days in treatment Ashley's young body makes a quick recovery. And she's finding beauty on the insides as well. Czar and you know. Good so I didn't exactly right clips of life ends. I'm ready to deal life resident using drugs steal it. Let my emotions and. As Ashley and Dylan navigate the rocky road to recovery. You're lucky to have dear families by their side. While Justin sits all alone in the Portland county jail. Here alone and if so it kind of trying to hits man who it is wrong. Sucks. And don't heroic come back here. Still he remains a young man torn between staying sober and his need for a fix as much as plan. Hope that I'm not going to it. And have this feeling in the pit in my stomach I warning. You know. A it's been eight months since we met Ashley Dillon and Justin are suburban kids from middle class families caught in the grip of heroin addiction. Now they're each taking different paths to recovery. In Maine Justin is getting out of jail for attempted burglaries just get to. Back at the apartment his first call is not to his dealer it's to his mother. I just liked. And. Asia. His family knows about jail but didn't visit or across the country in Minnesota and Justin has kept them in the dark about the depths of his addiction. That was thrown. Couldn't sleep and he bullet. I feel pretty good. I don't dependent on anything. Except for these cigarettes which he rolls from self. And his young life is about to take another turn. Justin is going home to Minneapolis. And nervous because news. We've heard so there at the best English so available. So tempting. Two. There heroin may no longer be in his veins but it's still in Justin's head. Some packs up and drives off in his. More. That was five months ago we haven't seen Justin since. Remember the odds are against kids like Justin we're trying to stay sober on their own. But down in Florida it's a very different story. Ashley and Dylan are hopefully getting the support they need at Karen Renaissance. This is Ashley's picture the night she arrived six months ago. Today. A different person inside and out. As she stands on the beach with Dylan something we haven't heard before laughing. The way the way in might. Women. Professor has led the it makes me feel like nine and and we'll. Some and whenever DL if I was you and it would never come could be facing young arm off perfect. And part of feeling normal means getting to a healthy weight. Actually has gained 25 pounds something she has mixed feelings about but it is certainly a sign of her recover. Ultimately these genes. I was actually Chris and they were really loose him. Us and Steve really tight. Even so actually knows she's much healthier now. And asked me for months heading home my future evidence well like I even care what happens next some as well. And now I know I can do it. That's nightly prayer it like it's some states over. Welcome at city gazes and it's like now Ashley is out of her basement dungeon and is putting her life back together with different Taylor group. She even has a job okay no problem for the site. And in recent months Dylan's gotten his life in order as well. He seven months over the longest he's ever been cleaned he's going to daily AA meetings and working the twelve steps of recovery with a sponsor. After five failed stints in rehab this a longer course of treatment or Karen seems to be working. And it's got my results back from high school diploma and a pasts. Really happy about that. Dylan is now dreaming new dreams of a future without drugs. Right there. Next one's gonna say Stanford on. Ashley and Dylan they make a nice couple don't they. The two share a bond that will hopefully last a lifetime. Sobriety. And every day fight we're in life. Is on the line. Well it's been nearly two months since we've visited Ashley and Dylan in treatment. You can find out how they're doing now and get your advice to other teenagers on the edge just go to 2020s web page. Thank you for watching tonight I'm Chris Cuomo for Elizabeth Vargas and all of us at 20/20 and ABC news we are in touch so please. Be in touch all the time online at Have a great weekend.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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