I met with Stacy, a former Heroin addict yesterday and heard her story. I have known her for the past year and have had the pleasure of bringing her food from time to time and listening to her boyfriend pray over me in thanks for the food provided by Feed America First.
“I remember the withdrawals,” she told me. “I could not get out of bed, I felt so sick until my friend brought me that needle,” her comments continued in describing Heroin. I asked, “Did you ever fear needles?” She told me that prior to her using on a regular basis she watched some of her friends use and said that she could not imagine using as much as they did. Before long, she was using Heroin just as much if not more.
The Heroin use left her feeling sick when she was not on it to feeling perfect when she injected the chemicals from inside the needle. She was twisted in emotions and pain as she shot Heroin on a regular basis multiple times a day. From the time the drug entered her veins to the time it followed the twisted red rivers like a fish swimming to her brain, the pleasures were overwhelming yet short lived.
When Heroin is used it makes the skin feel warm as it goes into the brain and gives Stacy a rush of intense pleasure. Her arms and legs would likely have felt heavy as the drug starts to work, her mouth dry. After the initial feeling wore off, it leaves you slightly nauseated and tired, sometimes itchy for several hours. Her mental state would have been clouded leaving her vulnerable to the elements of other drug abusers around her. Breathing and heart rate are slowed as the high turns into pain. But, the initial altering of emotions kept her coming back, along with the strong addiction that is tough to overcome without the use of medical care and medication.
Today she is clean, but her struggles continue. About three days ago she had a miscarriage and is facing the aftermath of losing a child and the medical aftermath of that happening. But, she is living on the streets as opposed to recovering in a home and in a bed. In fact, all she has is a sleeping bag and a boyfriend to comfort her.
As our talks continued she told me about the day she got clean from Heroin. Her mother was dying of cancer in Kentucky and insisted that she get help. Her mother said, “You are not going to die before I do, we are getting you help.” Her mom took her to get treatment and she was eventually prescribed Suboxone.
According to one website, “Suboxone contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Naloxone blocks the effects of opioid medication, including pain relief or feelings of well-being that can lead to opioid abuse. Suboxone is used to treat narcotic (opiate) addiction.”
The battles continued for Stacy when she dropped her tortured romance with Heroin, but this time with a prescription medication intended for her to drop Heroin. It worked, but now she was addicted to another drug. She told me that while Heroin may be worse, it took her even longer to get off of Suboxone.
Today she is clean, but living on the streets. She hopes to soon be approved for an apartment using her boyfriends voucher. Together, they will be able to slowly start over and build a new life off the streets.
Stacy told me she would love to share her story with parents in our community and does not care about her appearance of being homeless – just as long as she can tell others about Heroin. If you would like her to speak before your church small group or family, let me know and we will make it happen. You allowing her to do that will be a huge step in her journey of rebuilding and healing.