STATEN ISLAND — There have been eight overdoses reported in the last eight days in Staten Island, news that residents sum up as "scary."
"We got a problem in Staten Island."
Seven words on the minds of many people living in Staten Island. It is an island that has had its share of passings for centuries, but with nearly 50 overdose deaths thus far in 2016, the island is on pace for its worst year ever.
The news of the six deaths in eight days off of eight overdoses is concerning for many. For Michael, it serves as a reminder of what could have been.
"That was me a couple of years ago. I did overdose and I'm lucky to be alive," Michael told PIX11 News.
However, luck does not come without a fight for the 32-year-old. PIX 11 News found him in what he believes is the safest place on the island — Camelot Counseling. It is where he checked in just last week, right before the rash of overdoses began.
"It's easy for me to stay clean in a rehab you know. I'm in a safe environment, there are people helping me there all day long. I'm here to help myself, but when I walk out these doors that is where it gets harder," Michael said.
Camelot senior director Carl Faren summed up the report of eighth overdoses in eight days as follows: "Scary."
Camelot is currently treating 45 "clients" addicted to heroin
"They are willing to sell everything down the river, family, friends, life, education, jobs everything," Faren said.
The grip heroin has on an addict is like no other drug, according to Feren. This causes many who have overdosed once, getting clean, relapsing and overdosing again
"I currently have clients with us who have overdosed multiple times," Faren said.
For Michael, these are dark times. Not many in his position are willing to discuss their personal battle. However, there is a reason for this.
"They're helping me and I am helping myself here and if I can help somebody that is the reason why I am out here," Michael said.