Powhatan community fighting back against surging heroin abuse

POWHATAN, Va. (WRIC) — The heroin epidemic has hit the Powhatan community hard. Prevention advocates tell 8News four people ages 17 to 26 died in a matter of 60 days from heroin use.

This week, the community is fighting back. Heroes not Heroin, RSAAC and other groups are hosting an awareness and intervention event Thursday. The event will take place from 6:30 until 8 p.m. at Powhatan High School.

A551A59C201C4CEE99FDDD7372225439Dillon Loving is a Powhatan graduate and recovering heroin addict. He said the death of his 20-year-old sister, as well as his faith, encouraged him to get clean. Loving’s sister, Secret, died on March 17 of a heroin overdose.

“My parents were drug addicts,” he explained to 8News Reporter Nakell Williams. “My dad, he gave me a quarter once of crack when I was 12 and was like, ‘go sell it.’ You know, giving me heroin and stuff like that.”

Now, Loving is using his experiences to help others struggling with addiction.

“I was addicted to pain pills as a teen and then just pretty much did all those drugs,” he said. “Now that I’m clean, I just feel 10 times better. I just want to help anybody that needs help getting off this stuff.”

Loving’s former teacher, Cindy Harris, is supporting him through his journey to recovery. She’s also a coordinator of Thursday’s event.

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“We know there is an epidemic. There is a nationwide epidemic. We can either sit back and accept it or come out of comfort zone and we can do something about it,” she said.

The event offers resources and access to experts free of charge to anyone fighting addition or looking to help a friend or family member.

Click here for more information about the event.

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