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The Story of Shane Smith: A Division I Athlete and Recovering Heroin Addict

By Molly Darrow.
"I started taking heroin and it came to the point where I was snorting two bundles at a time," said Shane Smith.

Shane Smith, a former college football star, says addiction nearly took him out of the game of life.

"You’ll do anything for it. Stealing, lying, cheating," said Smith.

His taste for heroin started with pain medication prescribed for a football injury.

"My shoulder would hurt. I would just pop a couple of pills, go back and do it again. It came to the point where I was getting stuff off the street," said Smith.

This started at the University of Central Florida, he left school early knowing something was wrong.

Smith got a second chance at Wagner College, but was injured once again.

"I knew one thing that would fix that," said Smith.

Percocets led to Vicodin and stronger pills. Then he found heroin. And he couldn’t get enough.

"That’s when I went to intravenous and that’s when I fell in love with it," said Smith.

With love, came deception.

"I was great at hiding things, you know," said Smith.

His tight-knit family was losing the Shane they knew.

"We noticed that spoons were missing and that was an indicator that something was up," said Shane's father Ralph.

They had no idea what was going on. By this time Shane was not only a full-blown addict, he was a dealer.

"I’ve had young kids come up and knock on my door, my nieces’ and nephew’s age," said Smith, "You go from a Division I athlete having thousands of eyes on you. And you don’t want to talk about something that’s stuck in your closet."

Everything came out October 1st 2013, a day the Smith family will never forget.

"I kept rubbing his chest and telling him don’t go, it’s too soon," said Smith's sister Amanda.

His brother-in-law, Pat, gave him CPR, helping to save his life before emergency personnel arrived.

This starting Shane’s path to recovery, but not without bumps along the way.

"It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do, but the most rewarding thing to be able to come out of," said Shane's wife Kristen Smith.

Through it all, the Smith’s never left his side.

Two years in recovery, Shane coaches youth football for Deposit, teaching kids as many lessons about life as he does about the game.

"Just hopefully the people that do look up to me, they don’t fall in the same footsteps that I did. That’s why I share my story," said Shane Smith.

Shane is the first part of FOX 40's Faces of Heroin Series. Tune in this week to see more lives affected by the drug.