GREENSBORO, N.C. – Tabitha Bowman, 25, is a former heroin addict.
“I was going to go to prison, that was it. I was in drug court and they had sent me to all these state-run places and none of it was working,” Bowman said.
But things changed when she went to Fellowship Hall Drug and Alcohol Recovery Center.
“I just felt safe. This was where I was supposed to be, they had structure, they had guidelines, they had rules,” she said.
Bowman did the center’s 90-day program and credits it with saving her life. She left the program less than two years ago.
That’s also when Randy Carter, the center’s admissions supervisor, says they started seeing an increase in people calling for help with opioid addiction.
“We feel that in general more and more calls for people needing or wanting help for heroin or opiate addiction,” Carter said.
“Going back 10-15 years, we may have 15-20 percent of people in treatment for that addiction,” Carter said, regarding the number of people in their center addicted to heroin.
Now Carter says that number has grown.
“In the past couple of years we’ve stayed around 40 percent and at different times seen it go close to 60 percent,” he said.
Carter is one of the people who answers the phone and speaks with addicts and their families.
“They’re desperate, they’re in crisis, they are finally ready to get some help,” Carter described.
Fellowship Hall has inpatient and outpatient counseling and medical services. The most common program is a 28-day program, which is often extended to 90 days.
“The physical dependency, where the body is fully chemically dependent on heroin, the withdrawal symptoms are severe. It’s one of the worst substances to withdraw from,” Carter explained.
On average the program costs $18,000 and Fellowship Hall takes insurance, although Carter says inability to pay is often a barrier to many.
“Someone struggling with addiction for a long period of time is generally in a place where finances are a major issue,” he said.
Bowman, who now returns to Fellowship Hall to volunteer and speak with women, says she’s aware of just how bad the problem of heroin has gotten.
“It’s all over Facebook every day somebody else is dying,” and whenever she sees a new post, “I get a little bit of chills through my spine, like how how did I survive?”