SNEADS FERRY, N.C. (WNCT) – The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office continues its investigation into two deaths in 24 hours.
Sheriff Hans Miller confirms 22-year-old Matthew Eyster died as a result of a heroin overdose. He said 21-year-old Jason Sapp died of asphyxiation in his sleep. However, his death is still being investigated as possibly drug-related.
Sheriff Miller said drug abuse in Sneads Ferry has significantly increased and he wants addicts to think of the long-term effects.
“I want them to be aware that this can rob you of your freedom, this can take away your life in an extreme way,” said Sheriff Miller.
Sheriff Miller said everyone needs to work together for the county to move forward and fight the war on drugs.
9 On Your Side spoke with the mother of Matthew Eyster who plans to honor her son’s legacy by helping other addicts.
“I sat down on this bed with him Monday afternoon and I came home and said ‘Please Matthew you’ve got to get help, you’ve got to do this, you can’t let this go things are getting bad’,” said Matthew’s mother, Cindy Patane.
Hours later, Patane found her son laying on the floor, cold and lifeless, surrounded by needles filled with heroin. She said Matthew struggled with drug addiction for years, often seeking medical help.
However, coming home from rehab to the place where it all started became deadly for the recovering hopeful.
“I think my heart and the Lord has prepared me that one day I would bury my son,” said Patane.
His mother is now speaking out about his addiction and she said the drug doesn’t just control the addict, it controls the entire family.
“My daughter has picked me up from tears on my bathroom floor, she has given up so many things because she knew we were trying to pay for his rehab and she wouldn’t ask me for money,” said Patane. “She’s come in and screamed at her brother she knew she saw me hurting.”
Patane hopes by starting a Go FundMe account called Matthew’s Gift she can help other recovering addicts get the money they need to stay in rehab and halfway houses.
She wants to have a lasting memory of her son which will impact hundreds, “Now it’s making it possible to help these other kids in Matthew’s honor so they don’t have to leave that halfway house,” Patane said.
However for now, she’s just a grieving mother. “I want to text him, I want to text him and just say I love you Matthew.”
To help combat the war on drugs in Onslow County, one local church group provides help to addicts and their families.
H2O Ministries is a free church-based drug and alcohol recovery group located at Salem Baptist Church in Sneads Ferry. It was started by a recovered addict and the group’s goal is to help those struggling with addiction get back on their feet.
“You’re going to die if you do not quit and we want you to get help and h2o is here and we know with god all things are possible,” said Tommy Yopp, the President of H2O Ministries and Pastor at Salem Baptist Church.
Yopp said they typically have about 50 people attend each week. After this week’s deadly overdoses were reported, he said attendance rose to almost 70.
The group meets every Thursday at 6:30 PM.