MONROE, NC (WBTV) - A potent and dangerous drug is ripping through the suburbs, destroying families and ruining lives.
Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said his deputies are spending an increasingly large amount of their time fighting heroin.
"It's out there every day. We deal with it every day," Cathey said. "Heroin is making a really strong comeback in the drug world."
That comeback means trouble and serious criminal charges for many people who have otherwise clean records.
Cathey said the majority of heroin addicts his deputies come across are married people with families or kids who have no previous contact with law enforcement.
Deputies are arresting people like Chris Ferrell, who pleaded guilty last month to charges of possessing and distributing heroin.
He had a clean criminal record before he got hooked on heroin last year.
"It gets into your bones and in your body," Ferrell said. "It makes it so that in the mornings you can't even get out of bed because your body is so sick and needs it."
Ferrell said Heroin is more lethal than other drugs he had tried. He said at least six of his friends had died from the drug in the past year.
Both he and his mother said he's lucky to be in jail instead of dead.
That's what Ferrell's mom, Michelle Corder, thought had happened the night he was arrested.
Union County Sheriff's Deputies arrested Ferrell on Halloween night 2014 as he pulled into the house he shared with his mother and sister.
"I was going to help my mom pass out Halloween candy and then go down the street with her for the rest of the night and just have a fun Halloween," Ferrell recalled. "That's when they rolled up on me, right when i backed in my driveway."
As deputies were searching Ferrell's room and seizing his drugs, Corder and her daughter were driving home.
"I pulled up and saw all the commotion at my house," Corder said. "I saw tons of police officers in and out of my house and they had some standing out front and wouldn't let me in. I thought, at first, somebody had died."
Police officers took Corder's son away in handcuffs. He was charged with more than a dozen drug-related charges, including possessing heroin with intent to distribute.
"I started worrying that they were going to take my house, going to take my car. I started worrying about the neighbors. I mean, it was Halloween. People were trick-or-treating."
Ferrell pleaded guilty in March and was sentenced to several months in prison and a 90-day rehab program.
He sat down with On Your Side Investigates from behind bars in hopes of saving another person from what he's gone through.
"My message to anybody out there that's on it is get help, seek the Lord, get clean of it and stay clean of it," Ferrell said.
While he's behind bars, Ferrell said he has to work to repair his relationship with his family. Corder said the trust she once had for her son is gone. Ferrell said his grandfather won't talk to him.
If you or a loved one is looking for help to fight an addiction, you can contact the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Drug Free Coalition.