CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) -
A big drug bust in Chesterfield County has many shocked that heroin was being sold in their neighborhood, but one former addict tells ABC 8News it's more common than you think.
The number of heroin overdoses in the Commonwealth has nearly doubled in just two years. In 2011, 101 people overdosed. In 2012, 135 people died. Last year, the number skyrocketed to 197. Most who died are between 25 and 35 years old, and the increase in overdoses is hitting everywhere.
A former addict told Senior Reporter Nate Eaton she almost became a statistic herself after being addicted to the drug for two years.
"I was miserable and I just wanted to die," said Sherry Sanderson. "Every time I used I was praying that it would be my last time. I couldn't get up in the morning to cook breakfast for my son and I couldn't clean my house."
Her 10-year-old son, Malachi Dunbar, remembers running the streets because his mom was strung out at home.
"I could get up seven o'clock in the morning and not come back till 11 o'clock at night," Malachi said. "As long as I was out of her hair, she didn't care. I could be miles away."
Sanderson is not surprised to hear heroin overdoses are rising in the Richmond metro area.
On Friday, Chesterfield County Police announced two men are accused of making and selling the drug out of a Chesterfield apartment. Detectives say nearly $35,000 in cash and drug paraphernalia were found inside the unit.
"Right now, you can get it from anywhere at any time of the day and for at little as five bucks," said Sanderson.
Just over two years ago, Sanderson hit rock bottom and entered rehab. She's proud to say she hasn't touched heroin in 27 months.
"When I got out of there, I knew what a birthday party was," said Sanderson. "I knew what Christmas was. I knew what it was like to cook a full-course meal and to sit down with my family and eat."
Sanderson says Malachi led her to seek help; he says it likely saved his life, too.
"I think if she wasn't clean and I was still running the streets at this age, I would probably be in a gang getting high," Malachi said.
Sanderson now works with other addicts, helping them overcome their addictions, and says she's thankful to be alive.
"It's so worth it," said Sanderson. "Being clean is great."
If you or someone else needs help with a heroin problem, click here for a list of resources.