By Robbie Owens

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NORTH TEXAS (CBS11) – Heroin took a huge toll on North Texas in the late 90s.

Now, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control says deaths from heroin overdoses nationwide have more than tripled in the past five years.

“I actually started at age 11,” said Kimberlie Chapman.

Chapman said her drug journey began with a pain pill provided by her father. Decades later, Chapman knows she is lucky to be alive.

“I have done enough drugs, enough heroin to kill me over several times,” said Chapman.

She says she has been clean for close to two years, thanks to an arrest and help toward recovery with a local non-profit called, Grace to Change.

According to the CDC report, “Adults aged 45-54 had the highest death rate from drug overdose.”

“We don’t like to feel pain: physical, emotional spiritual, we don’t like to feel pain, and yet it comes,” said Joseph Powell, President and CEO of Association Persons Affected by Addiction.

Powell is now a licensed professional counselor. His South Dallas based community support group works to show addicts that recovery is possible. He is living proof. In spite of himself.

“I enlisted to go to Vietnam to, really, to commit suicide,” said Powell. “I didn’t know how to stop using drugs. I was going to get either shot up by bullets or shot up by heroin; but, I was going to die.”

Instead, an army drug test led to help instead. He said he has leaned on others to get and stay clean for more than three decades. Powell believes easy access to highly addictive, prescription drugs is helping to fuel America’s addiction epidemic.

“This is a community problem,” insisted Powell. “This addiction [epidemic] will continue and get worse until we start promoting recovery.”

Chapman agrees, insisting that it was Grace to Change that helped her do just that.

“I’m free, I’m alive and I’m sober,” said Chapman. “That’s pretty much a miracle in my book.”

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