TYLER (KYTX) - Following the death of Oscar winning actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman heroin use has been a hot topic.
CBS 19'S Katiera Winfrey spoke to an east Texas counselors who say it's a growing problem - but the signs are easy to spot.
Contrary to what some may believe, heroin is once again a very popular drug. As a matter of fact in the past five to 10 years, heroin use has gone up by nearly 50 percent.
Specialists say young, old, rich or poor can get hooked.
The face of heroin isn't always rough and worn out. It's the face of movie and TV stars, and maybe even people in your neighborhood.
"It kills a lot of people it really does."
The recent death of Hollywood actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and the death of glee star Corey Montieth six months ago have put a spotlight on the growing issue.
"The tolerance to the drug develops quickly so you have to take a higher dose," said Dr. Wade French who is a chemical dependency counselor in Tyler.
"It's a very dangerous drug and the addiction to it is very severe. It takes a bit of effort for a person once they become addicted to it to get off it and stay off it."
At his practice he doesn't see many cases of heroin addiction but says that's not the case in larger more urban parts of the country.
He says since heroin isn't made in the US, many people in east Texas opt for prescription drugs with opiate properties -- with the same effect a heroin.
"With heroin use ,the impairment in your function is pretty dramatic. People using it fairly regularly they become very sedated."
He says, people on the drug isolate themselves.
"So if you have a teenager they would be sedated you would notice that."
He says despite the deaths -- addicts are still using it -- and more people are getting hooked.
Another common practice with heroin users, it to lace it with other narcotics. We're told that makes the heroin more potent and deadly.