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Warning signs of substance abuse in loved ones

Rochester, N.Y. -- The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and his suspected cause of death has sparked a conversation about the growing use of heroin in communities.

Unity's Chemical Dependency Services said they've seen an increase in the number of patients treated for heroin use.

The agency reports client use jumped from nearly 21 percent in 2011 to almost 26 percent in 2013.

News of Hoffman's death triggered a flood of emotions for one local grandmother.

When I heard that about Hoffman it all flashed back to my granddaughter, said the grandmother, who asked 13WHAM News not share her name.

Her granddaughter got hooked on heroin at the age of 18 and the family worries it could end her life.

To know that your child is falling apart and there is nothing you can do to help them because it's too powerful, said the 18-year-olds mother, who also asked us not to share her name.

The family is one of many locally battling heroin addictions.

Tony Klein, with Unity's Chemical Dependency Services, said availability of heroin has increased among young people -- not just in the city, but in the suburbs as well.

Klein said there's usually a progression that leads to heroin use.

What's happening is these kids after they're misusing the pain medications, then move into the heroin use and that's when they get into trouble, he said.

Its trouble that can quickly spiral out of control.

That's where Klein said family members play a key role in spotting the warning signs of substance abuse.

You'll recognize that the person is not being themselves," Klein said. "They're avoiding the family more, There might be manipulative behavior in terms of using other family members medication. 

Klein said while it may seem like there's no end in sight, he said there is hope with treatment.

Recovery is a lifelong process," he said. "It begins at treatment but post treatment is where people need to establish a network of support."

 Click here for more information about Unity's Chemical Dependency Services.



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