CNN series profiles heroin problem at Kirkwood High School

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Suburban teenagers around the United States are are battling opioid addiction. CNN’s Deborah Feyerick visits St. Louis County where heroin deaths are nearly four times the national average.

The CNN’s series “Heroin: The poisoning of America” came to Kirkwood, MO to profile one student. Kolton Kaleta is a Kirkwood High School student. He says he tried heroin for the first time at 15-years-old.

Kaleta says that dealers target affluent teens because they have the money to pay for drugs. He says, “The people who do heroin are everyone from honor students to typical teenage stoners.”

How easy is it to get heroin? Kaleta says that you just call up a dealer, tell them how much you want, and agree to meet. You give them the cash and they throw it through your window and drive away. “Easy, just like that.”


Dennis Porter lost his daughter to heroin. She was the first student at Kirkwood High School to die of a heroin overdose in 2014. Ally snorted a capsule of heroin and died instantly. He had no idea how deeply she was addicted.

This is a text message conversation between Ally Porter and her dealer on the last night her father saw her alive:

Ally: “How many beans will I get?”

Dealer: “7 or 8”

Dealer: “They’re like fire”

Dealer: “There’s no BS”

Kaleta’s wake-up call came in 2015 when one of his friends suddenly died of a suspected overdose. Both teens had struggled with heroin addiction. It was the second death at Kirkwood High School in 14-months.

Kirkwood High School is aggressively dealing with the heroin problem. After Kolten’s friend died over 80 student reached out to get help for themselves or someone they know.

Shortly after filming this CNN report another Kirkwood High School Student died of an overdose. She graduated in May and was weeks away from starting college.