Facebook group supports recovering drug addicts on Long Island

- Michael Dodge has been battling his drug addiction for 9 years. He has now been sober for 7 months. He is using his painful past to guide others through a Facebook group called Underdosed Long Island.

"It's designed just to give hope to people who can't put together one or two days," he says. "I remember when I was there."

William Pray, 20, is all too familiar with Michael's story. "I was IVing roughly 30 to 40 bags a day, I've overdosed before, seen people die, seen how miserable my family is, and nothing stopped me," he says. Originally from Poughkeepsie, New York, William now lives in a sober house in Riverhead, Long Island. He is inspired by Michael and has been clean for three months. He says helping others helps him heal.

"Following by example, seeing what he's doing in his everyday life is a huge inspiration for me and I couldn't be happier," William says.

According to statistics, heroin has taken the lives of well over 150 people on Long Island. That number is more than double what it was back in 2010.

"I think there has always been a heroin problem -- we saw it in the 70s, we saw it in the 50s," says Steve Chassman, the executive director of LICADD. "But it became a suburban crisis when you saw heroin cross over all socio-economic boundaries."

Experts say the crackdown on illegal painkillers has led to increased heroin use. It's cheap and in high demand.

"Since January of 2015 I think I lost 17 or 18 friends to heroin overdose," Michael says. One of those friends, Max Henry of Oceanside, overdosed in June. The same week, two others lost their lives to heroin. Max's mom, Brandy, is a recovering addict herself. As an active member of the group, she hopes her tragedy will be someone else's triumph.

"I can't imagine another mom feeling what I'm feeling," Brandy says. "So If there's something, anything I can do I'm willing do it."

Underdosed has started a GoFundMe page to establish a telephone hotline to make it that much easier for recovering addicts to get the help they need. For someone hooked on heroin, Michael knows each day that passes could be their last.

"The way I look at it, I'm living on borrowed time," he says. "I'm in no position to waste it."

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