The heroin epidemic is something we hear about, but rarely see, with Granite Staters in its grasp. Tonight, we ride with Manchester PD’s street crime unit to show you what police are up against— every day. It’s the ugly truth of heroin abuse.
For Detectives Aaron Brown and Matt Jajuga, this is their office, with front seat views of the heroin crisis in Manchester.
“We’ve seen over the last couple of years just the absolute boom of heroin in this city,” says Jajuga.
“The problem is, there’s such a supply, obviously the demand is gigantic, it’s like any other product, and business is just always going to find a way,” says Detective Brown.
As we patrol the city’s heroin hotspots, the detectives recognize two frequent buyers—one passed out on the sidewalk!
Detective Brown: “How about this? Jason, yes or no. Do you use illegal drugs?”
Detective Brown: “And how about you?”
Megan: “Yes, of course I do.”
Megan also explains why she was found passed out on the street.
“You think having a common cold is rough,” says Megan. “When you come off of heroin or the methadone, or anything like that, you literally can’t get yourself out of bed or wherever you are and it hurts. That’s pretty much why I was laying on the sidewalk.”
CELINE: “You were sleeping on a street. How does that feel?”
MEGAN: “It makes me feel … I hate it, I hate it.”
What 28-year-old Megan Bowers loves? Telling me about her three kids—one, seven and ten-years-old.
CELINE: “What are their names?
MEGAN: “Damien, Skylar and Anthony.”
Megan says she doesn’t live with them. Why? Her addiction is too powerful.
“I overdosed in front of my youngest son, so I don’t really know if … He doesn’t know what’s going on. He’s too young,” says Megan.
Megan’s now lives on the streets, and spends most of her time in Victory Park. Her life revolves around doing whatever she can to score.
“I’m out there trying to eat and then (smiles) after that, I am not going to lie, I get drug money,” says Megan.
This year alone, Megan’s been arrested four times.
“I just got out of jail not too long ago.”
Those arrests—all theft and burglary related. Records show she also overdosed back in March and in May found herself— not once, but twice—at the scene of two drug busts.
“Cause like I said, I love it. I love it. I love the feeling,” says Megan. She adds, “It’s like an orgasm. I can’t tell you any different. You stick that needle in your arm or wherever, and that rush that you get, it’s the best feeling in the world this warm fuzzy feeling and you forget about everything.”
Even through the euphoric fog, Megan says she still wants to get clean.
CELINE: “It’s a lonely place.”
MEGAN: “It is. It sucks.”
CELINE: “So, you want another life?”
MEGAN: “I want another life.”
CELINE: “You want another option?”
MEGAN: “I want another chapter in my life. Not this chapter.”
We agree to meet the next day to get her help, and she’s nowhere to be found.
Officer Jajuga follows up with her friend Jason: “Where is she staying? Are you out on the street?” Jason replies, “Yeah, pretty much.”
Meantime, Detectives Brown and Jajuga are back at the wheel, trailing old faces and chasing new cases, doing what they can to clean up the city—one user, one dealer at a time.
Megan’s arrests for theft and burglary related charges – are just some examples of what’s contributing to the crime in Manchester. 85 percent – driven by drugs. Tomorrow night we explore why there are so many users and dealers on the streets—and how the gangs of New York—are in Manchester feeding that demand.