The Heroin Epidemic: A look inside an intervention in Simi Valley

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- Heroin use has grown at an exponential rate across the nation and experts say the addiction is a difficult one to break.

ABC7 met with Action Family Counseling, a drug rehab facility headquartered in Santa Clarita, as it helped to facilitate an intervention for a family in Simi Valley.

Robert Murphy has struggled to accept what's become of his son. Once a happy and healthy child, Ryan Murphy became an addict on a dark and dangerous path.

"I'm at the point of absolute desperation," Robert Murphy said. "He has a decision to make. Do I want to live? Do I want to die?"

Ryan Murphy, 27, said he's been in the clutches of addiction for the last 10 years.

"I need to get high just to function," Ryan Murphy described.

With his addiction hitting an apex, Ryan Murphy agreed to an intervention to help change his life. Sitting in his room, he admitted that he felt ashamed.

"Devastation, pure devastation," he said. "It's not me."

"If we don't do this, he's going to be dead," his father said.

Cary Quashen with Action Family Counseling helped to bring structure to Ryan Murphy's intervention.

"You've been on a suicide run now for a few years dude, in fact you overdosed how many times?" Quashen questioned.

"A couple," Ryan Murphy, who was just released from the hospital, answered.

"They had to bring you back to life once?" Quashen asked.

Ryan Murphy just nodded his head.

Simi Valley police officer Steve Jennings was called to Ryan Murphy's home after one overdose.

"I just happened to be the guy that showed up that day," Jennings said.

It was a close call, according to Jennings, who said it could have easily been deadly.

"Once you overdose and you start going down and you spiral down that hole, it doesn't take long until you just relax and you stop breathing and relax your heart to a point where you just fade out," Jennings explained.

He said Ryan Murphy wasn't much different than other heroin addicts the department has dealt with, though not all of them get a second or third chance.

"Every single one of them tells you that, 'I wish I could get out,'" Jennings said.

Since 2010, there have been more than 15 heroin deaths in Simi Valley alone.

Ryan and Robert Murphy hope the intervention and a month-long stint in rehab will work. After all, when ABC7 asked what he wanted to do with his life, Ryan Murphy said he had bigger plans to give back to the community.

"A drug counselor. I really do," Ryan Murphy said. "I've been through a lot and maybe if I can help just one person who's gone through what I've gone through. It's like turning a negative into a positive. It'd be worth it."
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