INDEPENDENCE, Ohio - A recovering heroin addict explained to an audience of nearly 800 that not even the death of her boyfriend from an overdose could stop her from using the drug.
The young woman, who audience members and the media present were asked not to photograph, told of how she stole from family, friends and strangers to pay for drugs.
She wrecked two new cars, skipped out of rehab, lied to those closest to her and nearly lost everything in her life before a threat from her father pulled her out of her life-threatening addiction.
Her father’s threat in 2005 to exile her from the family forever was the wake-up call that finally got her the help she needed.
She told the crowd she went to rehab and has been clean ever since.
Thursday night she spoke to a concerned Independence community, a community that has lost four people to heroin overdoses in just the past nine weeks.
The meeting was a cooperative effort among the churches, schools and city of Independence.
“Prayer alone won’t do it, a recovery program alone can’t change things, law enforcement won’t accomplish it alone. It’s not ‘either or’ but it’s ‘both and,’ it’s all of us working together,” Donna Barrett, pastor of Rockside Church told the crowd.
While some communities might try to shy away from such an issue, Independence faced it head on and the reaction was overwhelming.
“The turnout indicates that they’re concerned, the turnout says they want to be educated, the turnout says they know it could be their problem someday, so let me get some information,” said Independence Mayor Gregory Kurtz.
School superintendent Steve Marlow added, “Unfortunately, people make choices that are sometimes unhealthy and we’re trying to educate and inform people to make good decisions and good choices.”
Thursday’s meeting was used to map out future plans to continue the education of and dialogue with the community.
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