Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityThe Core documentary gives a glimpse at the life of a heroin addict in Columbus, Ohio | WSYX
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Columbus heroin addict: 'You either going to be high, or dead'

Lagenna, who asked WSYX/WTTE not to use her last name, explains what life is like as an addict in Columbus, Ohio. She reaches into her shirt to search for drugs she had recently purchased. (WSYX/WTTE)
Lagenna, who asked WSYX/WTTE not to use her last name, explains what life is like as an addict in Columbus, Ohio. She reaches into her shirt to search for drugs she had recently purchased. (WSYX/WTTE)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — It’s easy for Lagenna to describe the feeling she gets after sticking a syringe full of potent drugs into her body.

“It’s like a euphoric feeling. Like, you get a wave like a numbing feeling.”

But it’s hard for her to find a reason to stop. She’s sick without it.

“I use everyday. Sometimes three times a day – sometimes ten times a day,” she said.

“It depends on how potent the dope is. And around here, ain’t pretty. It ain’t potent. People who OD and stuff that like, they’re reckless.”

Life for Lagenna has been tough. Speaking with producer Matt Spurrier for The Core documentary, she said that addiction has been a part of her life even when she was unaware of it, “my mom used to do drugs, but we didn’t know. We didn’t know until we was grown, and realized like, oh, our mom did dope.”

“I choose to do dope because I have anxiety issues and depression, so, really bad, and in order to cope and like deal with my kids or deal with everyday life struggles or even just life period, I have to get high first. I like it.”

She describes her journey with addiction bluntly.

“I’ve been using off and on since I was 20 I dibbled and dabbled in powder. I had preeclampsia, and so I got prescribed Percocets, and um, but it was only for like two months.”

After using Percoets for two months straight, “I was sick, so I started buying them off the street.”

Calling herself “cheap,” Lagenna said the cost of one $35 pill was too much.


“I went to the cheap, quick fix, which was heroin.”

She said she spends about $120 every two days to keep enough supply around to feel OK.


Now, Lagenna said she knows that what’s on the street isn’t exactly what dealers claim they’re selling.

“And now they say you’re getting heroin, but I know what I do. I do fentanyl. Now it’s fentanyl, not heroin. It’s hard to find heroin.”


Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The agency explains that people who become addicted to the substance can end up with symptoms similar to the flu when they go through withdrawal, and often face the risk of overdose.

The medicine used to revive someone, Naloxone, is a lifesaver that is very familiar to Lagenna.

She said she’s used it more than two dozen times to help people who've walked up to death’s doorstep.

“This past summer I brought back 27 people. I haven’t lost no one yet, but it something that I don’t want –I hope I don’t ever lose someone; however you playing Russian roulette. You either going to be high or dead.”

She said her own drug use is no longer to get high, “I can’t afford it. So I’m just looking to get well. But I can’t be negligent. I’ve got kids.”

While Lagenna admits she doesn’t want this to be her life forever, “it’s my life now. But I’ve always made sure [my kids] they don’t see it.”

When asked if she wants to get clean, she said yes – and hopes it will happen soon, thinking jail time may be one way she’s forced to quit.

Lagenna was arrested on drug charges in November 2019.

In January 2020, she pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated possession of drugs and possession of cocaine. She was ordered to serve 3 years of community control.

As of the publishing of this post, Lagenna was still in custody at the Ross County jail, where she will remain until a bed becomes available at a minimum-security facility.

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Her children live with their grandmother.

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