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A new strategy underway for those hooked on heroin in Northern Virginia

A new strategy underway for those hooked on heroin in Northern Va. (ABC7)

Thirty-year-old Nicholas Yacoub grew up in Great Falls, Va.

"I was in high school, I had a lot of friends who were prescribed, probably overprescribed, a lot of different drugs," he explained.

And then came heroin.

"I had a friend who brought me a little brown baggie one time," Yacoub said.

That began a life defying dance with heroin that dragged on for more than five years.

"You don't care about anything; you don't care about life," he explained.

Yacoub survived. He is a long time recovering addict, but so many others across Northern Virginia have not.

"We have more dying from overdoses than in car accidents. That is very scary," explained the Director of Residential Treatment Services at the Fairfax County/Falls Church Virginia Community Services Board, which is housed at the Merrifield Crisis Center.

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman said, "In fact, we had a heroin overdose death just yesterday."

While Fairfax County Police Captain Jack Hardin, commander of the department's organized crime and narcotics division, explained, "From 2014 to early 2015 it [heroin] has exploded. Fairfax County currently leads the region in the amount of heroin overdoses we are seeing."

Operation Save-A-Life focuses on locking up the drug dealers while trying to help addicts.

Virginia State Police Captain Greg Kincaid said, "Build strong cases. Work those cases from the ground up and target those mid-level to high level dealers."

"The important part of these operations is not the number of arrests. It is trying to get people into treatment," said Sgt. Jonathan Perok, Prince William County police department spokesman.

On Wednesday, Fairfax County Police served 20 arrest warrants for heroin possession or distribution. Those who were arrested for possession were given the option to get treatment. If they agreed, they were taken to judge, released, and brought directly to the Merrifield Crisis Center.

And five of those arrested did agree to begin treatment.

Lyn Tomlinson, assistant deputy director of the Virginia Community Services Board said, "This is not an easy decision so I appreciate their courage." To begin saving their own lives.

How does Yacomb feel about being alive? "I love it. I am living the dream," he said.

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