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The most recent data from the Alamance County Health Department show opioid-related deaths are nearly three times the national rate. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 4.9 of every 100,000 people in the country died in 2017 from heroin overdoses, compared to 11.7 out of every 100,000 people in Alamance County.

It's a percentage that district attorney Sean Boone calls simply unacceptable. 

"You need to invest a lot on the front end with treatment so that you don’t have to invest a lot in the back end with incarceration," Boone said. "Everything we can do to limit the number of people and limit time in the system, and then become a part of the system we want to stop that."

That system, according to Boone, has filed 477 drug charges in 2018-2019. Nearly 10% of those were for possession of heroin. 

"We want to make sure that we emphasize a treatment component because if we hit in the front end on the treatment side of it, maybe we can keep them from re-offending and going back into that cycle of addiction," Boone said.

Bonnie Harris is the director and founder of Hannah's Haven, an all-female, faith-based rehabilitation center north of Greensboro.

"This drug is coming so hard now, and so many people are dying from it," Harris said. "I asked God, 'God help me so this one person doesn't have to die from this addiction.'"

The program was founded in 2006 and has helped dozens of women since — including Kaylee Lankford, who has been at Hannah's Haven since last July.

"Looking back I don’t really understand how I got to that point. It was just a slow fade," Lankford said. "You’re slowly deceived into believing what if I go and steal from this person or if I go and sell myself to this man for 30-dollars it’s like that makes sense at that time."

Lankford started using heroin when she met her biological father. She said it was because she needed something to fill a void he left behind.

"There was a lot of feelings of abandonment and rejection. A lot of questions 'why?'. And that was something that I really carried throughout my whole life."

Her addiction, Lankford said, would eventually branch out to any drug she could get her hands on, taking a toll on her family and friends.

"In the midst of our addictions we're dragging everybody else with us, the only thing is they're not the one that's getting high," Lankford said. "So I put them through hell. All because of my own selfish choices."