Man Addicted to Heroin Could Lose Family If He Doesn’t Recover: Part 1

Aaron Smith, 22, battles his addiction for his son, Camden, and wife, Kaitlin.
10:38 | 03/11/16

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Transcript for Man Addicted to Heroin Could Lose Family If He Doesn’t Recover: Part 1
Tonight, the "20/20" special. David Muir reporting. "Breaking point -- heroin in America," starts now. Reporter: The calls coming in. Heroin overdoses. All of them heroin overdoses. And in Manchester, New Hampshire, we're there when a panicked driver calls 911 with what he finds at a busy intersection. I got a white male, approximately 25 years old. He's blue in the face, so I need help now. Reporter: You can hear him, trying to revive the young man. 1-2-3-4. Reporter: Across town, veteran medic Chris hickey gets the call. How quickly do you have to get there, if there's a chance of saving this person's life? Within the first five minutes. I think we have an overdose, right in the middle of the road. Reporter: We arrive. And there he is. The young man in the street. Yeah, I just had a long day at work. Reporter: They believe his heroin addiction, so strong he couldn't wait to get home from work before shooting up in his car. You sure you didn't take anything? Yeah. We're not the police. You can tell us. No, I know. Reporter: And we meet that panicked driver who made the call. I came around, saw him slouched over at the wheel. Reporter: A father on his way home from work. He says he gave that young man mouth to mouth because he knew what he was witnessing. In New Hampshire it's everywhere, even in his own home. You know something. I lost my son to a drug overdose. Thank god I didn't have to do what I did for him. I miss him dearly. We need to do something. We have a problem in our country and we have do something about it, period. Reporter: For more than a year now, "20/20" tracking the explosion of heroin in America's suburbs. 129 people die every day from drugs. The vast majority, prescription pain pills and heroin. Is this the neighborhood here where you'd find it? There isn't a single part of any community that's untouched. We're from a typical small town. Very safe community. Very trusted community. Reporter: We've met so many parents, families -- blindsided. Spencer's world was football. The boy loved to play. Courtney was a lot of fun. She would bring a smile to everybody's face. Richie was very excited to go off to the Marines. Reporter: They never thought heroin would take hold of their children. Spencer got hurt in a game. He obviously was prescribed some painkillers. The oxycontin. Reporter: Over the course of a year, we see there are no boundaries. Rich, poor, the middle class. The same story. Prescription pills, then heroin. Far easier and far cheaper to get. Spencer switched over to heroin. Heroin. Heroin. The police came to my door at 1:00 in the morning and said my son was gone. Reporter: Drug overdoses are now more deadly than car accidents and guns in this country. And tonight, you're about to see the struggle in real time. I love you. Reporter: We meet Aaron smith, just 22. A young husband and father who loves his boy, Camden. What? Reporter: But Aaron is at a breaking point. He knows his son's future, his own future, is on the line. Everybody thinks their kid's the cutest in the world but I literally have the cutest son in the world. Reporter: But Aaron also carries with him something else. More or less this is all you need. Literally, that's the tool of the trade. Reporter: Aaron is a heroin addict. It's only been a year. It snowballed really quickly, to the point where I'd get up every day and my number one task was heroin. Reporter: Like all of those families, he tells us prescription pain pills came first. I started with percocet. Reporter: Then, the heroin. Four out of five new heroin users start off with prescription pills. The same opioid fix. His parents tell me they just want their boy back. Before this heroin had taken over, Aaron, was a, he was a wonderful kid. A great kid to be around. I miss that about him. Put it in drive. Reporter: Aaron wants that back too. He wants for his son, the childhood he had. That's Aaron right there. Number 7 on the football team. The player who grew up being shuttled from game to game. In grade school, meeting the girl who is now his wife. Kaitlin Norton. We've known each other basically our whole lives. He's just a good person. Like, genuinely, a good person. Reporter: Aaron knows, they all know, that this is a crucial moment. He will lose his family if he doesn't get better. Calling for help for weeks now. Consistently now it's been about three weeks every day on the phone. Literally any place you can think of within a 300, 400-mile radius. Reporter: But Aaron hears what so many hear. The waiting list, weeks, if not months. New Hampshire ranks 49th in the nation for access to treatment. Okay. Reporter: But we're there when he finds a bed. I just got a call from Phoenix house. They're going to accept me. I am so happy I am finally getting in a place. There is an end to this madness. This is unbelievable. Reporter: But will Aaron make it? 48 hours until he gets to that bed. And you're about to see what happens. If I don't get better now I'll be dead. That's it, period. Reporter: So close to treatment, we witness the mind games. I'm planning on throwing these out tomorrow, so, before I go to treatment. It's unbelievable how tough it is just to get rid of these because I want to get better but then it's like, what if I relapse? It's scary. But you know what, I'm going to get rid of them right now. Actually I should probably wait because I don't want to throw them in my trash. Reporter: Aaron tells us he's now in withdrawal. The grip heroin has on the body is punishing. It just beats the hell out of you. It feels like I was beaten with a sledgehammer. Reporter: And we're there when he begins to call around for heroin. I don't know, it might be a 20. I might need a 40. I'm going to have to see, okay? Reporter: Whatever he can find. Hello? Reporter: He works for his dad. Hey dad, what's up? Reporter: And he tells us he needs to get that paycheck. I was just seeing where you were at. All right. I love you. Reporter: His dad has the money but his father also knows what he'll do with it. Aaron tells us he's been stealing from his own family. Family members that you once loved, all they are to you is a money sign. It brings you to something lower than a human being. Reporter: Even with no money, we watch as he heads down the street to find a friend. Listen to what he tells us when he comes back. He helped me out, he did. He gave me a little bit so I'm feeling much better now. It's literally instantaneous. It's messed up, like, it literally just gets you Normal. It's really disgusting. Like, I need it to function. You know what I mean? Reporter: But just moments after shooting up, it hits him. He breaks down, knowing he's just two days from treatment and using again. And he starts telling us about his wife. She's everything to me. I just don't want to lose her. She's the mother of my son. I don't think I'd want to be alive if I don't have them. Reporter: Kaitlin, the mother of his young boy, has already left for treatment herself. She too began with prescription pills and then the heroin. So close to getting help too, Aaron knows these final hours before treatment are critical. He has overdosed twice before. And his father told me what it was like to find him. He was gray. I yelled for the phone, to call 911, and I proceeded to give him mouth-to-mouth. He was not breathing, and I couldn't feel the heartbeat. Reporter: Can you tell me what that's like? It's probably the worst thing I've ever had to do in my life, was giving him mouth-to-mouth. I, just -- I said, is this how it's all going to end? Right here, in my basement? Reporter: The paramedics arrived with the drug narcan. It reverses the effects of a heroin overdose. And he came right through, and he went from being flatline dead to standing up, walking and looking at me and talking and I was obviously elated he was alive, but heartbroken. Reporter: Did he say he was sorry? Yeah. He did. Reporter: Now months later and just hours from treatment, desperate to talk to his wife Kaitlin, who is still in rehab. Could you ask her if she's just taking time to herself or something if she could just call me and let me know that. Reporter: She is now refusing to take his calls, knowing her own recovery depends on it. And we witness his evening ritual. Looking at the photos of his boy, who is now living with Kaitlin's family. This is last fourth of July before he got his haircut. See, he's always got a smile. See, he's a big boy. Literally the best day of my life. I actually sit here, all night, every night, I go on this, and just go through the pictures. Because it's the closest thing I have to them right now. It's okay if I just, I'm going to close this right now, I don't want to look at it anymore. Feeling like this now makes me want to get high even more. I know it's destroyed my life, but right now I just want to get high so I don't feel like this. Reporter: When we come back, just 24 hours before rehab. Perfect. Reporter: And his trip to find his boy Camden. What his family tells him when he comes for his boy. Why do you do this to me? Reporter: And later tonight, the youngest victims. As we look for solutions to the heroin emergency here in America. Following so many families at a breaking point.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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