HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Madison County Deputies said they respond to at least one heroin overdose per week in their patrol areas, that doesn't include the cities of Huntsville nor Madison. Deputies said often times these overdoses started with a legitimate pain pill prescription. That's how Loewen Beasley's addiction began too.
Beasley got a degree from UAH and started his adult life in Huntsville.
"I had a nice job, worked for Boeing for a while," Beasley said.
Then, Beasley scheduled reconstructive shoulder surgery.
"It just escalated really fast to where I was doing a lot of pain pills," Beasley said. "That's when I went in to trying heroin as well."
Beasley was a successful analyst turned addict.
"It really is the way it makes you feel," Beasley said. "It helps you escape reality, it takes away the pain, physically and emotionally
Beasley said he found a needle, and he lost his home.
"It helps you just get away from what's actually going on in your life," Beasley said.
Beasley lived on the streets until he found the Downtown Rescue Mission last year.
"This place has saved my life," Beasley said of the mission.
Beasley recalls the days when he was taking drugs just to get out of bed in the morning.
"I wasn't taking the drugs a lot of times just to get the high, I was taking it so that I could actually function that day," Beasley said. "The days that you may not feel like using, you have to because you're going to be sick."
Loewen's watched people sell their pills, pawn possessions and steal from others.
"It just becomes a chase with everybody," Beasley said. "They do whatever they can to find these things. It's bad that people are dying and overdosing, but it also elevates crime."
Loewen's leaving that life. He's a front row student in his program's classes. He's looking forward to graduation is in his future. Today is about helping others.
"Just talk with them, find out what they're going through," Beasley advised other families. "Just explain to them the effects of not expressing yourself and getting those emotions out because a lot of times people that use drugs want to express their feelings and it's not really accepted in the family to talk about your feelings, or they're too afraid to actually talk about it and they resort to using the drugs."
Today, Loewen only needs a caffeine boost to keep him focused on his future, drug free.
"I feel great physically and mentally, I feel great spiritually as well," Beasley said. "Coming here got me a closer relationship with God and I really needed that in my life."
Loewen graduates from the Downtown Rescue Mission's year long program in October. He's stayed clean for nine months.