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Heroin problem is growing throughout Piedmont Triad

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FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. -- Heroin is a growing issue throughout the entire Piedmont Triad, according to multiple law enforcement agencies.

High Point was on the forefront of the battle against the dangerous drug, reporting 116 heroin overdoses in 2014, along with 14 deaths. In 2015, they have had 23 overdoses and four deaths.

“It’s just dangerous. It’s just so dangerous, and it’s just rampant,” said Chad Hart, a recovering addict. “It’s everywhere.”

Forsyth County deputies say their heroin overdose numbers have been on the rise as well. In 2013, they had three reported heroin overdoses and one heroin-related death investigation. In 2014, they saw their overdose numbers increase to 15, with their number of deaths remaining at one. However, so far in 2015, they have had two heroin-related death investigations and five overdoses due to heroin use.

It’s a reality Hart knows all too well.

“I once said it was like getting a massage from an angel,” Hart said, of the first time he used heroin. “But I don’t quite believe that anymore.”

After four years of heroin use, around Christmas of last year, Hart overdosed and almost died.

“I was slouched over the wheel of my pickup truck. Someone saw me and called the sheriff’s department,” Hart said.

Thankfully, a Rockingham County sheriff’s deputy was around the corner and responded in minutes.

“When they found me I still had a needle stuck in my arm. I mean, it happened that quick,” Hart said. “I always bucked the system, I didn’t like cops. But that [deputy] saved my life.”

When Hart entered detox after the overdose, he weighed 128 pounds. Today, after four clean months at the Winston-Salem Rescue Mission, he is up to a healthy 168 pounds.

“You’re walking a tight rope for the first 60 days and that rope gets wider and wider the farther you go, until you’re on solid ground,” Hart said of his recovery.

Greensboro and Winston-Salem police were unable to provide FOX8 with their updated heroin overdose numbers, they say, because their overdose data collection system is not drug-specific. However, Greensboro police did confirm that they too have a growing problem with heroin.

Hart said he was buying his heroin from both High Point and Winston-Salem.

“A heroin addiction will more than likely kill you,” Hart said. “If it [doesn’t] just run you slap into the ground to where your life’s not even worth living.”