- Associated Press - Sunday, June 22, 2014

HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) - Zachary Hall woke up from a coma in the detox unit at High Point Regional Health hospital with no recollection of what had happened or why he was there.

He was found four days prior on the floor of a McDonald’s bathroom. He had overdosed on heroin, leaving him with a severe brain injury at the age of 27, affecting his short-term memory.

When paramedics found him, he was without a heartbeat. They shocked him several times to bring him back, said Ronnie Meindl, co-executive director of Pierced Ministries, a local nonprofit dedicated to helping drug addicts overcome their addictions.

Hall’s story has become all-too-common in High Point in recent months as police try to trace a potent, and deadly, strain of heroin has been making its way through the city.

On May 16, High Point police reported seven overdoses in a 24-hour period, alarming local authorities.

Up through that time, there had been 34 drug overdoses reported in the city for the year, 31 of them involving heroin. Five of the overdoses resulted in death. That’s a stark contrast to the 25 drug overdoses the city saw for the entire year of 2013, with 17 of those attributed to heroin.

Hall began using heroin around the age of 19. He said he had heard through some of his friends

about the potentially deadly batch in the city.

“But I didn’t care,” he said. “I was like, well this guy might not have it, you know, everyone’s not selling that batch. I didn’t really care at the time. It was like playing Russian roulette.”

Hall said he can’t remember the night of the overdose.

“I might of been meeting (the dealer) there, or I might of been eating there, who knows,” Hall said. “I was in a coma for four days, and then I came here after detox.”

Hall said he’s doing a lot better, and now that he’s at the ministry, he’s happier and at peace.

“There’s just so many people that care, rather than being out there,” he said, referring to being out on the streets. “This is my second or third program, and I felt like I needed a longer-term program.”

Hall came to the ministry last summer for an interview and told the directors that he thought he could overcome his addiction on his own, said Alice Meindl, owner and executive director of Pierced Ministries.

“Then he went through this really bad overdose a few weeks ago,” she said.

Story Continues →