by Ben Graham
IT WAS the shocking video that stunned the world - but now the couple at the centre of it has revealed how they reached rock bottom.
Hundreds of thousands of viewers saw Ronald Hiers and his wife Carla after a heroin overdose in October 2016, when a man broadcast a video via Facebook Live of the couple slumped on the ground in Memphis, Tennessee, in America's southwest.
Now, the couple have spoken out, saying shocking footage of their zombie-like state was a turning point in their lives.
In a documentary by Time and Mic, the American couple say they have been sober ever since the incident and have not seen each other either.
Mrs Hiers, of Memphis, said she was hooked on opioids for 40 years. In the past eight years, took straight heroin.
Her husband, 61, said he had been addicted to heroin from 1972 until last year when the infamous video emerged.
"Drugs and alcohol will take you to place you can't imagine," he said. "When I got into high school, at 13 years old, I ran into a lifelong friend of mine. He's dead now. He died in my closet from an overdose.
"We began sniffing paint at 13 and smoking pot and drinking wine. By 11th grade, I got myself kicked out of school. My circle of influence was compromised to say the least."
The couple met at a party at Mr Hiers' parents' house when they were both teenagers - but they didn't get together until they were in their 30s.
"Things were never normal," she said. "We were always going to jail for something. We were always strung out."
"She was tough enough to go to places where she would get shot at; she was my kind of girl," Mr Hiers said. "We committed a lot of crime together - it was one big party because I didn't want to deal with any feelings."
Mr Hiers said he even walked away from his four children because of the drugs.
His daughter Paris Hardee also spoke candidly in the documentary. She said her father was in and out her life due to jail time.
"He was drunk and high a lot," she said. "He would hide needles in my drawer, in my room. "When you get those calls from jail and he's telling me how hungry he is or whatever, I felt bad for him. I was sad and I was scared for him."
Bursting into tears, she said she would go to bed every night worrying whether her dad would starve, freeze or be beaten up.
"You get to the point where it gets too bad to keep worrying about his livelihood or his being, because nothing you could do would help him," she said.
"He was always going to choose drugs over health, over friendships, over family - no matter what."
Mr Hiers was diagnosed with throat cancer earlier this year.
"The heroin takes you to a state of nirvana; it's that type of deal," he said. "Nothing matters - absolutely nothing.
"But, at that point, I was at a dark place, a depressing place more than any other point in my life.
"Forty-eight years of addiction, 48 years of going to jail, 48 years of watching people die, 48 years of watching people be killed or robbed, 48 years of living life in addiction prompted me to think about suicide."
His wife also came to a turning point in her life after the overdose last year.
"I could have died on the side of that road very easily," she said. "I wasn't ready to die.
"I've always felt like there was something better and there was."
On the fateful day when the video was shot, Mrs Hiers said she didn't realise she was being filmed.
"I didn't want to look at it," she said. "It was humiliating."
Mr Hiers said: "When I'd seen Carla, that's when my heart poured out for her because she was in a bad way. It really hurt, because she was in public and she was being publicly humiliated."
After seeing the video, Ms Hardee called a drugs support charity, Turning Point, which took Mr Hiers in. His wife had been thrown in jail on the day of the video, but she also went into rehab about a month later.
The pair have since gone their separate ways, but they still talk every day.
The man who broadcast the video, Courtland Garner, was criticised for laughing in the footage and not helping the couple, but he defended his actions in another Facebook Live since the incident.
"They were doing children things. It was a spectacle. It made me laugh" he said.
"I don't deal with people on drugs like that. I don't know what they're capable of."