Chesterfield PSA drawing attention to heroin addiction

Updated: Jun. 29, 2017 at 11:10 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Last year in Chesterfield County, there were 177 heroin overdoses, 37 of them were fatal. So far in 2017, Chesterfield Police reports there have been 92 overdoses, 23 have been fatal.

"It's a life that's going to be passing away from the disease and the addiction," said Regina Whitsett with Chesterfield SAFE.

SAFE, which stands for Substance Abuse Free Environment, along with Chesterfield County's Sheriff's Office, Police Department, Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Department of Mental Health Support Services, Health Department worked with the county's Department of Communications and Media to create a PSA.

The 30-second video depicts the aftermath of a drug overdose, a frantic girlfriend calling for help, believing her boyfriend has overdosed.

In the video, county officials released another statistic -- "1 in 5 heroin overdoses in Chesterfield County results in death."

"A $10 bag of heroin, I didn't even do a piece, OD'd and died in someone's front yard," explained Jade Boyce. "I had no idea what was going on. They let me know I had passed away, and they revived me."

Boyce says the heartache of losing a child is the reason she began using heroin. It's an addiction she has battled for years.

"Shooting heroin, meth, anything really," Boyce explained. "I did any and everything to run away from the heartache."

Her first overdose was not her last. She says one day, she was left in a hotel bathtub in cold water, waking up to find the people she had been using with had left her.

"I'm learning now what part of me needs to be treated, to abstain from use," she said.

Boyce's addiction led to committing crimes. She's now in the Chesterfield County Jail, but she's also actively working on her recovery while incarcerated.

"When I get out, I want to learn to be a mother. I want to learn to be a trustworthy daughter, go to school for music therapy," Boyce explained.

She is a part of the Heroin Addiction Recovery Program, also known as HARP. Started by Sheriff Karl Leonard, men and women are getting the chance to work on themselves, work through past issues, to help them beat their addictions.

"I want people to try to understand because it's your mom's, aunt's, uncle's, son's, daughter's, doctor's, lawyer's, down to the homeless, we're all the same when it comes to addiction," she said.

Her optimism, coming from HARP being a program centered around giving her a community and resources to aid in her healing, so she can ultimately succeed.

"I do have big dreams, and I know I can do it," said Boyce.

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