Heroin epidemic hits home: One family’s battle to help their daughter survive

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(WTNH) — For the loved ones of addicts, the battle to fight addiction can be a real and constant struggle. One Connecticut woman, who wants to remain anonymous, has chosen to share her story to raise awareness about the growing problem and the difficulties with obtaining treatment.

“Jane” first learned of her daughter’s drug addiction more than 10 years ago, when she was just 19-years-old. Now, at 29, she has been in and out of treatment, is unemployed, and struggling with legal problems.

“I want her to live. I want her to have a second chance at life and I don’t know where to go for that,” said Jane.

For ten years, Jane says it’s been an uphill battle. She believes her daughter uses heroin everyday. She said admitting her daughter has an addiction isn’t easy. She never imagined something like this could ever happen to her little girl.

“She’s gonna grow up to be this, you now, sweet, loving, kind, beautiful young woman. And she is sweet, loving, kind and beautiful, but she’s an addict,” said Jane.

Merriam Webster defines addiction as a strong and harmful need to regularly have something. The American Society of Addiction Medicine says it’s a primary chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.

“What most people don’t understand, disease. They don’t feel it’s a disease, it’s a choice. She made a choice. But, my daughter didn’t, you know, say when she was 12 or 13-years-old, I know what I want to be when I grow up, I wanna be an addict,” said Jane.

When asked if she blames herself for her daughter’s troubles Jane said she has in the past.

Jane said her daughter first started using pills with friends in high school. As she got older, she moved onto cocaine and heroin. For the past decade, there have been close calls, hospital visits and short stays in rehab. Still, the resources available aren’t enough to help her overcome the addiction.

Jane says the big problem is her daughter is over the age of 18. As parents, she and her husband have no legal right to access her medical records or take control of her treatment.

“If I had the authority to say, sign her into a facility for six months, we wouldn’t be here talking today,” said Jane.

Once over the age of 18, addicts can check themselves in or out of a facility on their own free will. The other major problem is a lack of available beds in treatment facilities that accept state funded insurance. Most operate on a first come first serve basis and Jane says they’ve gone several times only to be turned away.

“I want somebody to help us. I want more facilities, more access to facilities. I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know. All I know is these young people are dying everyday,” said Jane.

Jane hopes state legislators will consider passing laws that would treat addiction as a disability and allow parents to maintain guardianship if their child is battling one.

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