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Two Local Men Discuss Opiate Addiction, How it Started

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SACRAMENTO COUNTY --

The seven deaths caused by fentanyl pills being sold as Norco on the black market highlight a larger growing problem in Sacramento County, the addiction to opiates.

For two young men from Sacramento County, it started as a curiosity.

"I started smoking marijuana and drinking around age 15," said Skyler Rand, who is a recovering addict.

But soon turns into a craving and then an addiction.

"Well because the fix is, you need your fix," said Stephen Simpson who is also a recovering addict. "As long as it was readily accessible, I was able to get it and then become addicted."

"And I found that opiates were my favorite ... I just really like the feeling that those gave me," Rand told FOX40.

Rand said he first tried heroin in high school but only because he couldn't find prescription opiate pain killers.

"We were together, we were trying to get pills and there were no pills, so we knew somebody who could get heroin," Rand said.

But Simpson had an unlimited supply after his mother was involved in a serious car accident and was prescribed oxycodone.

"(I'd) be able to get around my mother by taking a few pills at a time ... She was watching TV  I  could go right in the back cabinet and grab it," Simpson said.

Simpson has since cleaned up, but it was not an easy path. The pain his family went though gave his brother, Joseph Simpson, an idea -- to start his own company, Safer Lock.

"I saw a chance to actually secure medications, and I went out and I looked around for a lock and it didn't exist, so I put one on a medication bottle," said Joseph Simpson.

While the bottle could be broken into, it couldn't happen without parents knowing about it.

"If the pills were locked up I would never want my mother to know I was taking one or two," Simpson said.

Rand has also been clean for more than a year now, but not without his own struggles.

"I just kept using, I didn't want to accept the fact that I was an addict," Rand said.

Both Rand and Simpson said the current problem in Sacramento County of fentanyl pills being passed off as Norco pills, a potential lethal dose for most opiate users, wouldn't have stopped them from taking those pills when they were at their worst in their addictions.

"(Hearing about that) would not have stopped me, unfortunately, it would not," Rand said.