MACHESNEY PARK (WIFR) -- Tammy Perry's husband died six years ago from a heroin overdose. He was 36. He left behind four sons...The youngest is now 12.
"In the end it eventually took his life he just could not break free," Perry says. "We pretty much lost everything. It doesn't go away. Without treatment it just doesn't go away."
According to the Winnebago County Coroner's office 19 people overdosed on heroin this year alone. The drug has taken the lives of about 70 people in the last three years.
"Usually you see an uptick in drug use, especially hard drug use, when the economy is bad," says former addiction counselor and Weed & Seed Coordinator Dana Hoefle. "And the economy has been bad for awhile."
Over the last six years heroin use has dramatically spiked in the Stateline. Instead of getting better more people are using.
"It's so cheap and it's so readily available. It's something that's virtually accessible to anyone and it's everywhere," Hoefle says. It only costs $10 a bag. "You're gonna choose whatever kills the pain the best and whatever's the cheapest and that's been heroin."
It's not just Rockford. Police in Janesville, Wisconsin, say this year they have confiscated 40 percent more heroin than normal. That's about 60 grams. But unlike other drugs like meth, heroin users are more likely to kick the habit.
"It's never too late. It's never too late to get help," Perry says. "It has to happen. We have to pay more attention to this issue. It's destroying families," Hoefle says.