NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — We first brought you the story of Skyler Paige Northup on Wednesday. Skyler died from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl last year at the young age of 18. As Thursday is International Overdose Awareness Day and with her story being shared thousands of times, we wanted to share more from the interview with her father.
“We always threw huge parties. Her birthday was always great, it was in the middle of summer,” said Charles Northup.
Holding a picture of a young Skyler, her father said her birthday this year was tough. She would have been 19 on Aug. 15. Instead of hosting a party, he is sharing the story of her addiction which began around age 16.
“She hung around a couple of friends who were into it and got her into it, realized it was bad and kind of blocked everybody out from that circle and continued on with life and it was no problem,” said Northup.
Skyler’s Story Part 1: Losing the battle: father shares story of young daughter who died from heroin and fentanyl
Northup describes his daughter as always smiling, laughing and happy, leaving many to wonder how such a seemingly happy girl could turn to drugs. He says a difficult childhood weighed heavily on his daughter.
“Her mom passed away with a hiking accident up in Campbell’s Falls in 2007. Unexpected, very unexpected, and tragic,” said Northup.
For Skyler, the drugs would win out again after her high school graduation in June of 2016. Northup says they tried to get her into rehab but she was turned away more than once. They finally found a program in October. Northup talked to her about the dangers of overdose and reality of death.
“When I used to visit her in rehab she used to talk about the fears of that and how it was kind of scary and she didn’t want that to happen. We thought she was going in the right direction but I guess you never know,” said Northup.
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Skyler died just two days after leaving rehab on Dec. 4, 2016.
“Every day is different. I mean, holidays are horrible. We all try to move together as a family, remembering, trying not to dwell on the what-ifs, and there are a lot of what-ifs,” said Northup.
Northup hopes by sharing Skyler’s story, people can find some compassion for people with addiction.
“It’s an epidemic. Everybody thinks it’s drugs, it’s bad, it’s the people using it. It’s part in partial due to that, but it’s an addiction,” said Northup. “This particular drug holds no bar on any background. Rich, poor, you’ve gotta stand together and help,” said Northup.