WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – New numbers from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) show drug overdoses were up 54% in the first six months of 2021.

Bel Aire Recovery Center says fentanyl use is becoming a growing problem. They say they have had a 60% increase in people seeking treatment for the drug compared to last year.

Dennis Pinkerton, director of business development at Bel Aire Recovery Center, says patients are getting younger and younger.

KSN News was able to talk to two people in recovery who were anonymously willing to talk about their stories to help others.

“Where I went to school, it started with just a few people doing them, and then it spread like wildfire,” said a 19-year-old man in recovery.

The 19-year-old man, who is recovering from a fentanyl addiction, said at one point he knew more than 30 of his peers were also addicted to the drug. Now, he says he cannot even count how many are.

He said when he first took the drug, he did not even know what it was.

“I later found out that it was fentanyl, but by then, it already had me. I was mentally and physically already addicted to them,” said the 19-year-old.

One 33-year-old man who is also recovering from a fentanyl addiction shared that since his addiction to fentanyl started, it has become easier to come by.

“It’s so easily accessed now that it is nothing, and it is cheap. You can get a pill from some people for a dollar,” said the 33-year-old man.

Mallory Capps, the director of nursing at Bel Aire Recovery Center, said she has never seen this many people needing help.

“It takes law enforcement, it takes community diligence, it takes services like ours to help people everywhere. There are things we can be doing, but I think this is something we will be battling for a really long time,” said Capps.

“It is a continuous cycle of hurt,” said the 33-year-old man.

Both of the men urge those who are struggling to seek treatment.

If you are looking for help, click here.