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The Drug Enforcement Administration says it is seeing a large number of heroin on the streets of North Texas, and that suburban women are getting hooked on the drug in record numbers.

They are seeing women who were once addicted to pain pills switching to heroin.

The agency is so concerned, it has launched a hotline for people to call in tips.

Ashley Klein grew up in Lakewood in an upper-middle class family, went to college, and got a degree. But, shortly after she graduated, she got hooked on pain pills.

'I would take one and like the way it felt, and would take more,' she said.

Eventually, Klein was up to 20 pills a day, and that got expensive, so she did what many others are doing.

She turned to heroin.

'It's cheaper and easier to find, and I was going against morals, values, but that's the thing about addiction it doesn't care,' Klein said.

Users say heroin gives you the same feeling as pain pills, but cheaper. Pills can cost up to $30 each, adding up to hundreds of dollars a day.

'A cheaper method or route may be to drive into Dallas and Fort Worth and buy a bag of heroin for $20 and shoot up,' said DEA Special Agent Calvin Bond.

The DEA said it's seeing an alarming number of people mainly women driving from the suburbs to buy heroin.

'Heroin is a very powerful drug, and it's having a very significant toll on the families in this area,' Bond said.

Klein said she found herself in some of those dangerous neighborhoods.

'It's like I wanted to scream out, 'I have a bachelor's degree! I'm really smart. I shouldn't be here,'' she said.

Bond said she was hooked on heroin for three years until she got pregnant and realized it was time to change her life.

She got help at Nexus recovery center, sobered up, and is now a counselor helping others out of the same situation she was in.

Nexus said for the first time in its history of treating women addicted to drugs, it's seeing a higher percentage of heroin users. Heroin has now surpassed meth and cocaine as the drug of choice.

Of 3,207 women Nexus has treated for substance abuse this year, 25 percent have sought treatment for heroin or other opiates.

You can reach the DEA's anonymous tipline to report heroin users or dealers at 972-929-7809.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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