Read Our Stories

JEANNINE COULTER

Anyone who has ever been physically addicted to an opiate knows – once it’s on, it’s on. My entire life became about chasing heroin.

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CHRISTINE ORR

Opiates numbed it all. Made me feel okay. I believed I did my best in the chaos, one of those false beliefs in active addiction.

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MIKAEL TIRADO

Mikael was the heart of our family. He never lost his kind spirit and always made family get togethers worth going to with his dancing, jokes, playfulness, and just the love he had for his family. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He treated his friends like family and would give you the shirt off his back if needed.

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JACOB SMARCH

Today, my husband and I try to bring awareness to the problems that revolve around people with opioid misuse disorders. We do whatever we can to help erase stigma by opening conversations and speaking out to groups about our experiences. Our hope is to give Jacob a voice.

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SAM JOHNSTON

In his late teen years, Sam acknowledged his drug problem and realizing he needed help, took the lead in researching facilities to find a treatment program he thought would work for him. He signed himself up and went voluntarily.

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MIKEY PITRE

He gave back to his community by working food drives at local businesses. He mentored a few of the neighborhood kids and took them under his wing to keep them out of trouble. This was all until Mikey became addicted to pain pills.

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ADAM EATMON

I found Al-Anon but Adam would have none of it. He refused help. He turned inward, his rage coming out at me more and more as he aged. He became violent.

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TYLER SHAMASH

Tyler’s death has changed our family forever. Having to call his then 21 year old sister, who was in college across the country, to tell her that her brother was dead, was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. To know that she would have to fly home alone, with a crushed heart, was unbearable. Having to tell his 16 year old brother, about Tyler’s death wasn’t much easier.

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Rey Gispert

I remember picking up my year medallion of sobriety and him taking me home and shooting up heroin right next to me. I knew from that point on I lost my father.

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THEO MARINESCU

The fateful day arrived on May 17, 2015. There will never come a day, hour, minute or second that I stop loving or thinking about my son. Child loss is a loss like no other. Theo was an incredibly loved young man.
Friends flew across the country to be at his funeral, and the incredible sadness about how his death could have been prevented just permeated the air. Because of the embarrassment he felt, he never asked his friends for help.

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KEVIN BRIAN CHERKAS

These are the drugs that were found in my son’s system after an accidental overdose on the morning of February 11, 2012: Meth, Heroin, Xanax, Ambien, and Ecstasy.

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CONNOR REID ECKHARDT

After almost one year of sobriety, Connor was offered drugs. He said “no” to drugs. He was then offered spice, k2, which unfortunately he said “yes” to! This yes, took Connor’s life.

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Chase Jones

I asked Chase why he got God’s Chosen tattooed above his cross and he said, “Because God has chosen me. I am going to reach out and help others with addiction because I have walked in their shoes.” I pray Chase continues to touch other people’s lives through his story.

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Kyle Hamilton

I want to open the eyes and hearts of those who have not experienced addiction or watched it demolish the lives of loved ones. I want to provide some form of encouragement to those who struggle with addiction. I want to shine a beacon of hope and community to the families and friends who love an addict.

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Raymond Brabant

After my ex passed away and I realized I had close friends who were addicts and hiding it, I gathered information from addicts who were in recovery.

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Joseph Abraham

As a parent of a child with substance abuse disorder (SUD), you always carry hope within your heart. This hope always lead me to believe that there was no hurdle that we could not overcome. I always took it one step at a time and began living life just that way. Approaching each problem as it came and knowing that somehow, we would fix things and life would eventually be okay.

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Luke Derespinis

I go back to the moment I opened his bedroom door over and over again. I will never forget anything. I had an outer body experience. I was screaming, punching holes in the walls and throwing kitchen chairs.

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Andy Katchuk

I will never see my son find the love of his life, and never have grandchildren. For that I am so sad. But I am equally grateful for the 22 beautiful years I got to spend with him.

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Cody Gilles

We lost my son Cody, to a Heroin/ Fentanyl Overdose on August 1, 2016. Since then I have been out there helping to make a difference and help people.

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Cassidy Cochran

. . . is so important to shout from the proverbial rooftop in order to remove the stigma from addiction. Cassidy didn’t “look” like what most people imagine a heroin addict might look.

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Kirby Collier

We do not have any addiction history in our family, so we were blindsided by Kirby! Her story of addiction is heartbreaking and difficult to discuss.

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Jessica Almasy

As her mother I don’t think there will ever be a day that I don’t get that sinking feeling in my stomach and that pain in my heart when I think about her. Tears come so easily now. There are days her life seems like it was a dream and then I remind myself, she was here and she mattered and she was loved. Oh how she was loved.

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Ryan Souder

His so called “friend” took him to live with him, and less than a month later (Oct.12,2012) my precious baby boy overdosed alone in that friend’s house.

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Staci Capone

“Once her addiction took hold, she went to detox multiple times, rehab more times than I can count, jail, and was Baker Acted here in Florida.”

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Jarrod Barber

“… more and more parents were contacting me about that doctor. I started collecting empty pill bottles and scripts from parents and worked with the DEA to arrest her.”

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Jared Voss

Onward, Ho, Jared! “You can’t go back and you can’t stand still, if the thunder don’t get ya then the lightning will.”

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Joel Mutch

Funny, irreverent, talented, Jesus loving, rhyme spinning Joel – I’ll see you again. “I love you in a place where there’s no space and time.”

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John Leif Trang

Thus began a journey of trying to find out what to do for a 16-year-old who is addicted to heroin, and how to find a program to help him recover that was not $50- $100,000.

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Ryan Anderson

“. . . I had to make a choice, either let his death destroy me or take it and grow as a person and be his voice, our voice and take initiative to help save lives and reduce the stigma that surrounds addiction.”

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Matt Klosowski

I would give anything for a do over. To rewind time knowing what I know now. I would have held on tighter and never let him go.

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