Counselors at the Stone's Throw Church's Redemption program have been told by heroin addicts that the drug is readily available in Middletown.
The people who come through the Stone's Throw Church's counseling services have indicated a clear availability of heroin in the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend area.
"It's all readily accessible throughout Middletown," said Dan Betters, a counselor with the church's group Redemption. "It's their neighbors and around the corner. There is definitely a big drug culture for sure."
The church came to Middletown in 2010 and Betters said that since beginning their counseling program, they have worked with nearly a dozen addicts from the M.O.T. area.
The drug culture in the area surprised them, Betters said, as well as the people who are a part of it.
"It's shocking," he said. "You have 19-year-olds, 50-year-olds, single people, business owners… There's a whole spectrum."
It also surprised him of how prominent the issue was in town because the area is less urban that the Wilmington or Dover areas.
"It's alarming to me," Betters said.
Statewide, there has been an increase in heroin cases in every town, police have said.
Since January, Delaware State Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Shavack said that there have been more than 730 heroin investigations statewide.
In 2011, there were 578 statewide for the entire year.
Middletown Police have also been making more heroin arrests, especially since this summer, said Chief Henry Tobin.
Signs of addiction vary from person to person, Betters said, but there are typical physical signs.
"They have glassy eyes," he said. "They're speech is slurred and they are very slow to think."
Betters said that most addicts that he has dealt with have a hard time thinking on their feet or holding a conversation.
"The best way to explain it," he said, "is that there is a giant cloud around them."
Members of Stone's Throw Church's counseling services in Middletown are trained in redemption counseling, which uses the Gospel.
The church also does individual counseling, which Betters said is a bulk of what they do.
Through that, they are able to help addicts get clean by sending them to 12-week detox programs, one of which is Keswick of America in New Jersey.
At Keswick, Better said that they live on the campus there and learn how to recover.
"It's a comprehensive program," he said. "It teaches them through the Gospel and it teaches them how to work. There's also an accountability program."
Keswick is funded through donors and the churches usually pay the registration fee so that the person addicted doesn't have to worry about the cost. Some detox programs can cost thousands of dollars, Betters said.
When patients return from Keswick, counselors then monitor their behaviors for the accountability program. Counselors are trained to notice any signs of relapse.
Betters said that the program recently had a success story.
One man he worked with who had been to jail and injured over heroin recently went through the 12-week program at Keswick.
"He's doing great," Betters said. "He's a different man."
Before going to the detox program, he said the man could not hold a conversation.
Now that the man is clean, he said that he is a well-spoken, happier man.
For information on the Redemption counseling program, call the Stone's Throw Church at (302) 464-5782.
The church's office is located at 1 South Broad St. in Middletown.