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Combating Addiction Locally- Mercy House in the news

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

By Enzo Domingo | May 9, 2019 at 6:56 PM EDT - Updated May 9 at 6:56 PM

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Authorities in Chesterfield are dealing with a drug epidemic after a rash of overdoses - including three that resulted in death.

The 10 cases popped all over the county, from Midlothian Turnpike to Jefferson Davis Highway. Police say at least four of the cases were heroin-related.

“With the heroin and the opioid epidemic, it’s not in the upper class, middle class, low class. It’s all over the county," Lt. Tim Kehoe said.

Initially, police reported six suspected overdoses from Friday into Saturday.

“I’d get up in the morning, the first thing I thought about was taking a short of heroin,” said Victor Torres, pastor at New Life for Youth, a rehab organization.

Torres helps reel in others who were formerly consumed by drugs, and know first-hand the desperation that users go through.

“I would mug people, I would break into places, I’d break into houses,” he said, recounting that difficult time in his life.

At the organization’s car wash and thrift shop, he hires former addicts like Anita Kite to set their lives straight.

“It was very painful losing my kids, losing my family, and losing everything I’ve known growing up," Kite said about her life before joining New Life.

Since then, she’s turned things around.

“It’s been great, actually,” Kite said. "It’s been amazing learning how to have dreams again, how to work again.”

But even with programs like New Life for Youth, Kehoe says everyone is still vulnerable to the opioid epidemic.

“I think there’s been a stigma for a long time that heroin and opioids affect a certain population, and that’s far from the truth," Kehoe said. “People are now understanding that it is in your backyard."

Police won’t know yet exactly which drugs were involved in the overdose cases until the toxicology reports come back in a few months.

Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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