FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. – A 24-year-old man is among the latest young adults to lose their lives due to drug addiction in the Piedmont.
But, he is still telling his story, through a video captured months before his fatal overdose.
Will Scott was 23 years old when he was released from jail for a second-degree trespassing charge. Later that day, he sat down with his friend – and fellow addict – Chase Hodges.
“You think it had to do with drugs,” Hodges asked Scott, to which he replied, “Absolutely. Absolutely.”
In the video, Scott recounts how he first became addicted to opioids.
“Broke my ankle, 2013 and they gave me Percocet,” he said.
Scott says he was taking the pills as prescribed, at first.
“And then one day, I was like, ‘I wonder what happens if you eat two?’ Ate, two and I got this really warm feeling around my body,” he remembered.
Before long, Scott says he began using cocaine, before a friend offered him heroin. It was an offer that, initially, he turned down.
“He told me you could snort it, and I didn’t know that, I thought you could only shoot heroin,” he said.
The absence of a needle was enough for Scott to take the risk.
“And I just snorted it and I got that warm feeling that I got when I did those percocets, and then it was off,” he said.
It wasn’t long after that Scott and Hodges met.
“We were both into doing the same kind of drugs,” Hodges said.
Hodges himself struggled with trying to get clean, but it was a fateful day about a year and a half ago that propelled him into recovery; the first time he watched someone overdose, and that person, was Scott.
“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Hodges said. “Like, I’ll never forget, he just said ‘Oh God I messed up,’ and then he just face plants.”
Hodges called 911 and performed CPR on Scott until the paramedics arrived.
“The paramedic told me that if it had been 30 seconds later, he would have been gone,” Hodges recalled.
But, the close call wasn’t enough to get Scott off the drugs. Months later, Hodges was clean and Scott agreed to do the video, in an attempt to raise awareness.
“We have way more to offer when you’re off of dope,” Scott said in the video. “When you’re on dope, you have one goal in mind and that’s to get high.”
On June 10, Hodges said he spoke to Scott for the first time in a month. Scott told him he was working at Ronni’s Restaurant in Clemmons and had been clean since Mother’s Day.
“He just seemed happy, he was doing OK and it made me feel good,” Hodges said, of the conversation.
But, the thing about addiction is, once you’re an addict, you’re always an addict. In Scott’s case, it was the relapse that proved most dangerous.
“Whenever Will died, I was kind of in shock for a couple days,” Hodges said.
It was June 11, the day after their final conversation, that Scott took his last breath. Deputies say he had overdosed on heroin in the bathroom of the restaurant in which he worked. He was 24 years old.
“They said he never came back, or they didn’t think he ever came back, but he had snuck in and he went to the bathroom to go get high without anybody knowing and an hour later they saw him in the bathroom,” Hodges said.
As if Scott’s death wasn’t hard enough to come to grips with, Hodges said he had another friend overdose and die around the same time. The funerals for his two friends took place on the same day.
“All your friends are dying at the same time,” Hodges said. “You can’t even go to all the funerals.”
Hodges tells FOX8 that he hopes sharing their stories will prompt people to get involved with organizations like the newly formed non-profit Phoenix Rising of Winston-Salem, which has targeted drug addiction in the Triad.
The Winston-Salem City Council approved $35,000 to help the non-profit restart drug court in the county, which they plan to do by October 1.
“When you’re on dope, you have no pride. You have no morals,” Scott said, in the video. “You’ll do anything, steal from anyone.”
“Seeing [Scott] go into the bitter ends of addiction, it’s heartbreaking,” Hodges said.