Nightly News | June 20, 2012
>>> last night we reported here on the steadily growing problem of heroin use and abuse among suburban kids in this country. tonight nbc's kate snow has nor on the tragic toll this new generation's heroin is taking on the families who seem powerless to stop it.
>> reporter: when john roberts retired from the chicago police department , he bought his dream house out in the suburbs.
>> thought it would be a nice place to raise your kids.
>> i thought for sure, this was going to be a lot safer than the city.
>> reporter: their young son billy was just entering high school . he started experimenting with pot, cocaine and then heroin.
>> reporter: from your home in the suburbs billy was able to get it no problem.
>> billy said, dad, it's so bad out here, i could make a call and it would be put in the mailbox.
>> reporter: in this suburban county deaths went from six to 30 this year. this year on track to be even worse. billy died of an overdose three years ago.
>> we got to the house. something i've seen many times in my career, all the flashing lights, including an ambulance. so i knew i had lost my son.
>> close your eyes and picture what a heroin addict looks like and then open your eyes and see our family.
>> reporter: marry dedrick's daughter alisa was a figure skater and cheerleader in boston. alisa was 14 when she started taking prescription drugs like oxycontin. her senior year she realized heroin was safer.
>> i promised myself as long as i never did heroin i would be okay, that i wasn't that bad yet. i cried right before sniffing my first line of heroin.
>> alisa left home for weeks at a time but her mom kept trying to get her help.
>> i knew if i turned my back on her, i would never see her again.
>> alisa has been sober for five years now, teaches pilates, just graduated college and plans to be a substance abuse counselor.
>> it's a hard thing for me to think that not everybody is this lucky. that there are just a few of us that got to the other side.
>> reporter: many young people told us they tried heroin because it's cheap, 10 bucks a hit. that's less than the cost of a six-pack, much cheaper than prescription painkillers and the stigma is less. you don't have to shoot it in your veins, you can snort it. we've heard from a lot of parents in the last 24 hours . there are support groups out there including one john roberts started in chicago. brian, there's more information on this on our website.
>> a new generation for this drug sadly. thank you, as always, for your reporting.