Going Into the Heart of Heroin Country: Part 2

Two-year Fusion investigation went into Colombia's poppy-growing region, as Vermont father Justin Bemis enters treatment.
8:48 | 12/24/15

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Transcript for Going Into the Heart of Heroin Country: Part 2
It's the winter of 2014 and for three years Justin Bemis has struggled with a crippling heroin addiction that threatens to tear his family apart. Justin? You sure you won't talk to them for a minute? I don't feel good! Bad day for Justin. He obviously won't come down and talk. One day good, one day bad, depending on what he's able to retrieve. Reporter: Justin is trying to stop using and get better on his own. But the effects of the withdrawal are unbearable. Your mom is torn. On one hand she wants to help you in any way she can. Maybe give you some money. But she also knows that's the wrong decision. What do you think about that? As a drug addict talking? I'd say, give me some money. As her son? I'd say -- whatever you feel is right. Which I know what that is. She's always been the strongest one in our family. I'd say if I didn't have children, I probably wouldn't be here. Reporter: Even after deciding to get help, he's been forced to wait more than ten weeks to see an addiction specialist. There's so many drug addicts. There's so many. There's not enough doctors, not enough treatment centers right now to handle the overload. Reporter: This year the U.S. Will spend nearly $28 billion fighting the country's drug war. Addicts like Justin are waiting for drug treatment at a cost of $200 a week. Reporter: I decided to go down the heroin trail, Colombia, where the U.S. Is trying to cut the drug off at its source. The Dea and Colombia national police are taking outside a special minute to the poppy-growing region of Colombia. After a short hike down the slope, there it was. Wow. Reporter: Fields of poppy. Hidden within the crops. This is really where the heroin trade begins. With this poppy field, 8,000 feet in the mountains. Reporter: 3,000 miles away from Vermont. It's hard to believe Justin Bemis' heroin could have come from here. You can't go back anywhere else. This is where it begins. Reporter: Jay Bergman was in charge of the Dea's south America division at the time of our interview. He's worked in Colombia for the last 15 years. Can you blame them? They're making a lot more money with these poppy plants than they would with berries. I can blame them because there's lots of people that aren't. There's lots of people understanding the harm effect that say, I'm not doing it. Even though it might be profitable. Reporter: We travel to the state of alca where most of Colombia's poppy is grown. How many families do you know who are growing poppy? Reporter: I've been invited by the indigenous group nause and Jorge is living here. Local rebels control drug trafficking here and they've threatened Jorge and his family for resisting their authority. We wondered if these farmers had any idea how their crops were impacting people in the united States. I have photos from a family that we've been spending time with. Reporter: Like Justin Bemis, a world away in Vermont. This is your first time seeing someone who uses heroin? Reporter: Jorge says he's trying to convince his community to grow legal crops but he needs the government's support for help. Hey, Justin. How are you, doc? Reporter: Spring 2015, Justin got the call and entered Dr. Mark Logan's treatment program. How's it going? Things have been well. He's been participating in therapy groups, frequent urine drug screens, frequent check-ins. By all appearances he seems to be doing very well. I'm concerned about that long-term and looking for warning signs. You know, eye contact is one of the biggest ones. When you're asking that question, do you have cravings? Have you been using? Yeah, I'm wanting them to look at me, yeah. Last time we saw you, you had track marks in your arms. You'd self-described as a full-blown heroin addict. What's changed? I'm probably a little more pleasurable to be around. Reporter: A few months later Justin looked like a completely different person. The scars from his old habit gone. I remember when you showed us your hands and you can see now that they're heal. They haven't been used in that way in a long time. I mean, I have a hard time even remembering like why -- the grasp it has on you. Reporter: Justin was taking soboxone daily. As part of his treatment program he had to meet with Dr. Logan and attend weekly group meetings. It's about time I take my other half dose. It's like a thin -- Just that little thing? That's a little less than half a one. Reporter: Justin has to be on this prescription drug for at least 18 months. But recovery is a long and often unsuccessful fight. More than half of patients who soboxone relapse within two years. Does that scare you? No, they always say relapse is part of recovery. That's not my philosophy. When I say I'll never go back to that life, I don't care what anyone says. You can see me in 25 years and I will not have touched an opiate. That's the end for me and that life. I will not use again. Reporter: For his parents, art and Linda, they're just happy to have their son back. I had picked him up from one of his meetings. And I just kind of looked at him. And he said, what are you looking at? And I said, you're smiling. Really, he hadn't -- we hadn't seen him really smile -- In years, really. Yeah. It's been a long grind. Reporter: Justin's recovery has also been good for his siblings who had their own battles with addiction. Today they're all in recovery. It's just amazing for me because two years ago, we sat at this table having some really hard conversations. And people did not look as good, I got to say. I got to be honest. Come on. I say it to you now. So how far have you come? Oh my goodness. I mean, it's just -- it's just totally different. Everybody really is pretty independent. But they're also reaching for their dreams. Which I didn't think was possible. I just got back from Colombia where we met people who are actually growing the poppy. I showed them your photo, I showed them the video. They'd never seen anything like that. Do you blame them? No, not at all. I mean, we're all -- we all make our own choices. Today the Bemis family is a success story. The great part about the success is we've always said, if you could beat this, you can accomplish anything in your life. It's a continuous battle. But to see the siblings together is what's fun. Reporter: But at this end of the heroin trail, the bemises are the lucky ones. I feel like I have a second chance. My boy at the river, he just walked up to me and he gave me a big hug and he said, I'm so happy you're back, daddy. I'm excited to spend time with him. It's really all that matters. All right, let's do it! Reporter: Dan Lieberman for "Nightline" in Rutland, Vermont. Our thanks to Dan and the entire fusion team for that compelling report.

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

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