NASH COUNTY, N.C. (WNCN) – The medical examiner’s office is looking into five suspected heroin overdose deaths in and around Nash County since Friday, according to Sheriff Keith Stone.
Many of the deaths investigators have been seeing lately are young people.
“I’ve seen way too often just here in the community several deaths. And, these are young people. They had lives ahead of them. And, they’re ending up in the graveyard,” said Stone.
Last year, county investigators seized more than $3.4 million worth of heroin, totaling more than 6,800 grams. There were 49 arrests, resulting in 143 charges.
“You’re never prepared for the amount that’s going on now. Our guys are working dealers up and down our corridors. It’s putting a burden on us, local law enforcement, our court systems,” Stone said.
Jessica Schneider knows firsthand about living with an addiction to heroin.
“In 2010, when my dad passed away. That’s when I started losing track of everything,” she said. “I ended up meeting a guy, and he actually introduced me to it. And from there on, it just got worse and worse.”
She was a teenager at the time and says before trying heroin she never drank or tried any other drugs. Sheriff Stone says more commonly he’s seen people begin with an addiction to prescription pills before trying heroin.
“The second time I did it, it turned into IV. After I did the IV, it was done and over with. I couldn’t wake up, couldn’t roll out of the bed,” said Schneider.
Schneider, 20, is now at the Durham Rescue Mission after being arrested in Kentucky on a drug possession charge.
She’s been at the mission for five months working in the development department and getting help to avoid turning to heroin again.
“To be honest with you, before I came down here I thought I was honestly going to die on it,” she said. “When I was being raised, I wasn’t raised around drugs or anything like that, knew right from wrong, knew that drugs, you weren’t supposed to do it, knew all of that.”
She says it’s important for people to understand just how pervasive the problem is and correct the misperceptions. ‘
“When it comes to heroin, heroin does not discriminate at all,” she said. “It hits families that are very wealthy, teens. It’s mostly in the suburbs now.”
Schenider will be at the Durham Rescue Mission until September.
When she leaves, she plans to go back to Kentucky to finish classes at a cosmetology school. Through an arrangement with the judge in her case, she would be able to enter a diversion program as well.
One day, she hopes to open a salon and continue helping people like herself who are battling an addiction.