"I was in IV drug user and it was instant," Vanity Valladarez said. "Any vein I could find is what I used."
The scars on her hands are proof, Valladarez is a former heroin addict.
"It's a numbing drug you just feel warm inside," Valladarez said. "It took away all the pain and it gave you this false sense of love."
At 26-years-old, Valladarez is the new, young face of today's heroin addict. Lori Erickson counsels former addicts.
"Today's picture of the heroin addict isn't what it used to be years ago, today they are very young," Erickson said.
Erickson has seen heroin addicts as young as 15-years-old, and it's starting with prescription pills.
"Their starting out with oxycontin and vicodin and these types of things," Erickson said. "Our youth, that is what they are getting, they are getting pills."
Prescription drug abuse is at an all time high, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Painkillers pave the way to heroin, both are opiates, but eventually prescriptions run out or become unavailable.
"The pills can be very expensive and if there is no access to the prescription medication then heroin is much cheaper and it's available on the streets, Erickson said."
"Everyday I was doing a gram to a gram and a half a day and spending over $100 on it," Valladerez said.
Her addiction cost her more than money, it cost her her family and kids. She's also fresh out of prison and now in recovery at Capistrano Women's Treatment Home in Bakersfield.
"I never thought I would be here right now," she said.
Erickson can relate.
"I have 12 and a half years clean and I too was a heroin addict at one time in my life," Erickson said.
"I used to be really ashamed of these marks and hoping they would go away, but now it's a sense of pride because I know where I've been," Valladerez said.
Experts also blame a flood of cheap heroin from Mexico. Justice Department statistics obtained by MSNBC show the drug showing up in new areas, including upscale suburban towns where heroin was once rare.