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Calhoun County members gather Sunday for Rally Against Heroin

Calhoun County community members and leaders came together Sunday to rally against a dangerous epidemic. Sheriff Matt Saxton said 80 percent of jail inmates have some form of substance abuse. (WWMT/Ray Hole)

Calhoun County community members and leaders came together Sunday to rally against a dangerous epidemic. Sheriff Matt Saxton said 80 percent of jail inmates have some form of substance abuse.

Rally Against Heroin founder Mike Dezotell shared his personal story.

"I used heroin for six months; that was it. I was on prescription pills. I had battled a 10 year addiction with pain pills. Heroin was a whole other level. I was sleeping in garbage dumpsters, on the streets. Doing crazy things to get money," Dezotell said.

Dezotell said it's an ongoing battle. He said many people who are addicted to pain pills turn to heroin because pills become too expensive. He said he was taken to the worst depths of his life during the six months he used heroine.

Like Dezotell, Rally Against Heroin supporter Cheryl Rudd's personal battle with addiction was similar. In November 2016, her son lost his battle against opiates and heroin.

"I was on crack cocaine and heroin. I've been clean from heroin for 14 years and any other drug for seven years... When I lost my son, dealing with that was horrible. I felt like I was the only one dealing with it but I wasn't," Rudd said.

She said thanks to Dezotell as she's found a way to remember her son daily, rallying against heroin.

"What are we not doing as a community to solve this problem? What more do we need to do? Like really look into more things to safe Battle Creek," she said.

Dezotel said it's hard to get through to drug addicts but hopes together the community can make a difference before it's too late.

"2017 was a horrible year for overdose fatalities in Battle Creek. 2018 was a much better year the numbers went way down. 2019 we're off to a really bad start," Dezotell said.

Rally Against Heroin is scheduled to meet several times throughout the year. To contact Dezotell, click here.

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