The suburbs' secret, growing heroin addiction problem

March 28, 2013 9:07:57 PM PDT
Heroin addiction is a growing problem in the Chicago suburbs.

Now one mother is telling the story about her daughter's battle with the drug in the hopes of getting the word out about the danger. Anti-heroin activist P.J. Newberg started a website ( because her 18-year-old daughter is addicted.

Newberg's daughter Paula Nixon has been in and out of treatment and jail since first experimenting with heroin two years ago.

John Gutenson sees addicts like Nixon every day. He helps run the largest needle exchange program in the area. A recovering addict himself, he also trains people to administer this drug Naxolone which can prevent overdose fatalities. He says the draw to heroin is powerful.

Newberg has been speaking out for less than a year, even as her daughter continues to fight her addiction. She hopes to help save other parents from her experience.

She is not the only one speaking out. Stephanie Kuhns, 24, is telling her story to warn parents and others the danger of heroin in the suburbs is real.

Kuhns says heroin has nearly destroyed her life. It killed her brother and several her friends.

"I started using when I was 14," she said. "This little bag of powder destroyed my life."