Man in Viral Overdose Video Says Being Filmed Was the 'Best Thing That Happened to Me'

By Kelly Burch 12/09/16

The man and his wife, who was also filmed, entered treatment after the clip went viral on Facebook.

Two women looking at a cel phone.

This year there have been many shocking videos of overdose victims released. While many people have been outraged at the thought of someone videoing a medical emergency, others claim that the videos raise awareness of addiction. Now, one overdose victim is speaking out, saying that seeing the video of his overdose is the best thing that ever happened to him.

“The video was the best thing that happened to me,” said Ronald Hiers, according to the Washington Post. Hiers, 61, was filmed overdosing with his wife, Carla. A video of the two passed out on the sidewalk in their hometown of Memphis was broadcast using Facebook Live, and has more than three million views.

Although the video was disturbing, Hiers says it was the wake-up call that he and Carla needed. “It got us in a position to get help, to get cared for,” he said. “It feels like I'm watching the most powerful thing I've ever seen. You have to hit your rock bottom, and for me that was mine.”

In the two months since the video was posted online, Ronald and Carla were both offered scholarships to Turning Point treatment facilities. Carla, who is still in a Massachusetts rehab, told CNN in a statement that the situation was a catalyst for her to seek treatment.

”I am very optimistic about my recovery, and feel like God has reached down and pulled me out of a very dangerous situation," her statement read. "Since the video surfaced, I've learned that I can trust people, something I never did before ... I don't feel hopeless, worthless and useless anymore.”

In the video, Courtland Garner, the man who streamed the incident, laughed at the couple and did not offer any help. In a second Facebook live stream the day he posted the overdose video, Garner said, "I don't deal with people on drugs like that. I don't know what they're capable of.”

Ronald Hiers said that he does not blame Garner for the incident, although he wishes the man had more compassion. "He did not put myself nor my wife in that position. We put ourselves there. Had it been his mother or father on that sidewalk, on their face, he would have certainly called 911 instead of filming a video to see how many hits he could get on it."

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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