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George Michael's boyfriend claims singer was an addict

CDC reports heroin deaths tripled in last 6 years

Heroin deaths increase almost...

EL PASO, Texas - As mourners kept on flocking Tuesday to George Michael's home in north London, the singer's current boyfriend spoke of his sadness at his death.

Hair stylist Fadi Fawaz tweeted, "I will never stop missing you" to Michael. He told the Telegraph newspaper on Tuesday he had gone to Michael's house so they could attend a Christmas lunch and found the 53-year-old singer dead in bed.

"Everything had been very complicated recently, but George was looking forward to Christmas, and so was I," Fawaz said. "Now everything is ruined. I want people to remember him the way he was. He was a beautiful person."

But Fawaz also told the paper the singer was battling a herion addiciton -- a claim Michael's family strongly denies.

The dangers of heroin are growing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released numbers that show the rate for deaths involving heroin has almost tripled since 2010.

Julian Correa is an El Paso man who first tried herion in the 70s.

"It gives you a euphoria. It's like the sun rising on your soul. There is no other feeling like it," Correa said.

Correa has been clean for 24 years, but he still calls himself a recovering addict. He is now a dependency counselor working to help others.

"They don't know how powerful the drug is, how it seduces you," Correa said. "I remember I used to have a girlfriend and she heard that I was using heroin and I was using the needle. And she would always check my arms. So, I  let her check my arms  because I  wasn't using it where it was visible."

Correa's arms are still scarred by his drug use. He says at one point he was earning $1,500 a week. But, it wasn't enough to keep up with his habit.

"Your tolerance goes up and that's why people start dying off. Because you are taking a risk. You might get a batch that is uncut, and it's stronger, and you do the same amount and it kills people," Correa said.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research now suggests the abuse of opioids medication - such as vicodin and oxycontin - prescribed for the treatment of pain may open the door to heroin use. Nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in three recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin.
   
For Correa, his first drug was marijuana. He said people don't plan to get addicted, but it happens. And he considers himself lucky to still be alive.

"As you go along, you switch drugs. But addiction is addiction. It doesn't matter what drug you use. It's still going to take you out," Correa said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


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