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Man helps those struggling with addiction through There is No Hero in Heroin

Reese Engle, a 19-year-old who passed away after an overdose on heroin. His father Joe now helps those struggling with addiction (KSNV file)

Almost five years ago, Joe Engle discovered too late that heroin had made its way into his home.

"My oldest son was 19 when he passed away," Engle said. "July 21, 2011, I came home and I found him overdosed on his bed. He was dead."

Reese was just 19-years-old.

Engle, the single father of four, is helping those struggling with addiction through his group, There is No Hero in Heroin.

"Most of them generally don't work, don't pay taxes, they don't vote. Addicts typically don't have a voice and I want to help give them their voice," Engle said.

Engle supports them through their recovery efforts, providing scholarships to sober living houses and addicts leaving treatment centers.

Trish Patterson received that help while staying at the Fawn residence, a sober living home for women.

"June 5, 2015 is my sobriety date," Patterson said. "I've been using and drinking for 15 years."

Patterson started using at 12-years-old.

"It wasn't like I was addicted the first time I started. I was casually drinking or using when I was at parties or leisurely," Patterson said. "By the time I had my first son I started using to cope. I didn't want to deal with things in life so I started drinking more, so I didn't have to feel anything and it progressively changed."

Patterson is now 10 months sober and for the first time in a long time, she feels hope.

"I work a full-time job, able to be in my kids' life now. It's amazing. This life is completely different than what I would have ever imagined," Patterson said.

Engle also provides a support system for families with loved ones who are addicts.

"Don't give up hope, there's always hope as long as he's breathing," Engle said.

Engle couldn't save his son in time, but Reese has given him a purpose and a drive to prevent others from experiencing his pain.

"We're not here for a very long time. 20 years. It's our legacy that's going to live on and this is his legacy," Engle said.


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