Local mission sees Birmingham heroin problem first hand

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Changed Lives Christian Center is a mission offering transitional housing for up to 56 men. They are currently only housing 45 men, the lowest number since December.

The director of the mission, Brandon Lackey, blames the vacancies directly to heroin use.

Lackey says that many of the residents are no longer allowed at the mission after failing their monthly drug test.

“We have to have a strict no tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol,” Lackey said.

“The old marketing ploy of free samples is alive and well in Birmingham. You don’t have to actually have money to score heroin right now. It’s so cheap and [dealers] know it’s so addictive that you’ll be back for more,” said Lackey.

Lackey says people come from all over the state to by drugs in Birmingham. Including Josh Cook, a current resident at the mission.

“I would come to North Birmingham because it’s a hub for heroin. I actually lived in Huntsville,” Cook said.

Jared Wilson, the mission’s Social Services Coordinator, says even if you are not looking for heroin, the drug will find you.

“Simply pumping my own gas I had a man approach me last week and asked me if I was interested in buying heroine,” Wilson said.

Lackey is calling on Birmingham leaders for help.

“Help us keep an eye out in our local communities. Put pressure on the drug dealers who are profiting from the heroin trade,” said Lackey.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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