Forum on drug abuse hears from recovering addicts

In this Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 photo, Cody Lewis, a recovering heroin addict, runs his hands through his hair, before speaking about his life and addiction at the Good Samaritan Methodist Church in Addison, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
In this Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 photo, Cody Lewis, a recovering heroin addict, runs his hands through his hair, before speaking about his life and addiction at the Good Samaritan Methodist Church in Addison, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — People who abused heroin and other drugs described how they quit as officials called for a comprehensive approach to deal with what they called an epidemic and scourge.

Several people spoke at a forum in New Haven on Thursday about their recovery, describing challenges ranging from shame to insurance. But they say they eventually found effective programs that helped them stay clean and end a cycle that would have led to prison or death.

Experts say the stigma associated with drug addiction is a barrier and called for breaking the silence by highlighting the large number of success stories.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal called heroin abuse an epidemic and scourge. He and Sen. Chris Murphy are calling for more money for treatment, stepped up law enforcement and greater education.

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