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      Recovering addict speaks out about drug problem

      According to the Traverse Narcotics Team, about 60% of Northern Michigan crime is drug related.

      Rachel is young, beautiful and smart. You probably wouldn??t guess that she is a drug addict.

      "All it takes is that one try for you to become hooked," she said.

      The Traverse City native comes from a good family. Both of her parents have good jobs in the community, and she had a positive upbringing.

      ??There was just always this part of me that I felt I didn??t belong anywhere I went,?? she said.

      In junior high, Rachel started using prescription drugs like Adderall and Vicodin with friends at school.

      "I was like oh my gosh I found my miracle, my cure for everything,?? she said. ??I want to feel like this all the time?|.but you're always chasing that".

      It only took a few months for that need of what she calls ??euphoria?? to take over her life. Pretty soon, she was using every day. That led to harder drugs like cocaine and ecstasy.

      "I was willing to do whatever it took so I would steal from people,?? Rachel said. ??I would steal from people that were my friends, I would steal from my family; things that if I was in my right mind, they would never be ok with me??.

      Once Rachel had money, she said drugs were easy to get.

      ??There??s a lot of hangouts in Traverse City where that goes on on a daily basis,?? she said.

      According to an undercover agent with the Traverse Narcotics Team, sellers from the Detroit area come north because the profits are so much higher. For example, sellers pay $80 for a gram of heroin downstate. In Northern Michigan, that same gram is worth about $200 to $300.

      "If we didn't have such a large customer base or demand we would less likely have those individuals coming here to make the profit, or sell those drugs, he said.

      The Traverse Narcotics Team is fighting a vicious cycle, as Rachel fights her addiction every day. She has been clean for six years now.

      ??I want there to be hope out there for anyone who is struggling with addiction, that you can get clean and stay clean,?? she said.

      If you are struggling with addiction, visit www.addictiontreatmentservices.com or call (231) 346-5216.