Heroin addiction is on the rise in Oklahoma. Police say as the state cracks down on prescription painkillers, more people turn to heroin because it contains morphine.
That means more people dying from heroin overdoses, more crime, more babies born addicted, and it is a drain on the healthcare system.
Like all addictions, it takes a terrible toll on families.
"Do I look like the mother of a heroin addict?” Sandy Hoyt said. “Neither does anyone else."
Hoyt is a middle-class, church-going and loving mother who knew nothing about the drug world.
She says her son Kyle started stealing the Adderall pills he was prescribed for attention deficit disorder when he was young. Then, in junior high, he was caught smoking marijuana at the bus stop.
"I was irate, absolutely irate,” she said. “Just want to get a hold of him and smack the dickens out of him – what are you doing? But he went to rehab and I went with him. This is not going to happen, and I thought that would be the end of it."
Kyle did better, graduated high school and moved out on his own. A year later at 19, she learned he was doing meth.
"[I told him] ‘I'm your mother. This will not happen to you. I will not let it....’ I found rehab and said get in the car and he ran away," she said.
He came home and went to rehab again, but got high the very night he was released. He moved to California, got a job and a fiancée, but two years later at 26, he started taking prescription painkillers, then heroin.
It was a devastating blow.
"I knew he could die,” she said. “This is different. He can die."
He became homeless on the streets of L.A. for three months.
"He's been beat up, lost teeth, lived in tents, eaten out of dumpsters,” she said.
Kyle went to rehab, got kicked out, tried again, then he was arrested and the judge gave him a chance at drug court. It was a two-year program to get sober. That was in January and Sandy says talking to him this week, she had renewed hope.
"That was the first conversation in all these years where I felt I was talking to my son,” she said.
A group called The Addict's Mom will host a Lights of Hope rally on Sunday at Zink Park at 6 p.m. They'll be lighting candles for those living with addiction, those in recovery and those who've died.