Recovering addict talks about struggles to stay drug free

Chris Topher (right)

BEAUFORT, Carteret County - A new operation in Carteret County is working to get drug dealers off the streets.

Members of multiple county law enforcement joined Havelock Police in revealing the work of "Operation Spotlight." The operation will get dealers off the streets and encourage addicts like Chris Topher to seek recovery help.

CLICK HERE to read more about Thursday's announcement and arrests

"I had pretty much accepted the fact at one point that that was how I was going to die," Topher said. "That you know what? I'm an addict, I'm gonna die this way, oh well."

Topher's story of addiction, like so many others, started with pain pills and eventually led him to heroin.

"You feel invincible to it. But in reality you're not," Topher said. " Every single person, every time you do it it's like Russian Roulette. It can kill you that time but you put it out of your mind.

"One weekend I was just like you know what I'm just gonna do a little bit. But every addict knows that's a lie."

Topher moved to Carteret County about six months ago, where he found the Peer Recovery Center of Carteret County. It's there he's working on recovery. It's far from an easy thing to do, Topher said. He's relapsed before and now is only four days sober, he said.

"It's one day at a time," Topher said. "If you tell yourself that you stand a very good chance."

His one day at a time is often made tougher because dealers are out there waiting. It's why Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck said "Operation Spotlight" is so important. He's sending a message to dealers that their time is up.

"Prosecuting offenders who continue to sell drugs in our community is important, and these types of operations are a good way for us to put information out to the community," Buck said.

It's information Topher said can be the difference in saving a life.

"It ain't too late. It's never too late," Topher said. "Even if you come through these doors and you had used before you got here somebody that will still accept you"