Since I started speaking publicly about our family’s experience, I’ve met so many wonderful people in person, through emails, over the phone, and on social media sites. One particular email moved me to tears. It is from a young lady named Claire who is battling addiction. She so eloquently tells her story about the struggles of being an opiate addict and trying to get help in an underfunded system. Her story is representative of so many people needing treatment.
Her name and some details have been changed to protect her identify. I have permission to share this with you as she wants to help in this fight too.
WARNING: The first email will move you to tears. Her follow up email will break your heart.
I have been reading your articles and I am truly inspired by your courage to come out and tell the Island about your struggles. My name is Claire, I am 22 years old and I am an opiate addict. My addiction started about 3 years ago and since then everything in my life has deteriorated. I have been to jail, I am on probation, I almost lost my life in a car accident, I have lost jobs, I have lost friends, and I have lost myself.
I have been desperately trying to get help for sometime now. I have been to detox 6 times this year and began (but didn't complete) the Strength program twice. I have come to realize my only way out of this addiction is to be inducted onto the Methadone program and I am currently attending a readiness program. I have completed the required amount of meetings and I have to wait until a spot opens but that could be months away. I don't know how much longer I can wait. It's so hard living everyday wondering how you will get your next pill. I have a child and because of my addiction I have to have supervised visits.
I want you to know that it's people like you that give me the strength to share my story and reach out for help. Thank- you for everything you have done to help us suffering addicts. I want my story to be told so I can help someone like you, who has helped me. I want the media and government to realize how much of an epidemic this problem really is. I want more resources and more programs made available to addicts in need, and I am hoping by me sharing my story, it will make even a small difference. It is my generation that is sick and my generation’s responsibility to speak up and make a difference, one story at a time. My story isn't over yet but hopefully it will be soon.
I promise you that once I am better I won't just move on and forget. I will help fight this battle and help make a change so another addict doesn't have to wait or be denied treatment like I have been.
Once again, thank-you.
Yours truly, Claire
Here is Claire’s follow up email that came two weeks later:
Sorry for taking so long to get a hold of you. I wanted to tell you that I have completed and accomplished all the meetings and requirements requested for the Methadone readiness program. At my last meeting I was told that my name would be brought forward at the next meeting on Friday, April 26th. I thought it would be the end to my terrible way of living. I was so relieved and proud of myself for not giving up. Due to a staff shortage, there are no more meetings.
Today, I called someone at Mount Herbert to ask her how the meeting went on the 26th and to find out if I was accepted into the Methadone program. Well her response was anything but positive. She informed me she has no idea what will happen with me or my group. My name was brought up but, unfortunately, they do not have the funds and amount of staff necessary to have anyone inducted onto Methadone this month. My world came crashing down in front of me. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
What is wrong with the government? Even though I did the work, showed the motivation, put in the time, met all the requirements they asked of me, and now, after all that I was told, they can't afford to do what they promised me from the beginning. I don't know what I am going to do now. I don't even have meetings anymore that I can attend. This problem at Mount Herbert needs to be addressed because, for those people on the Island struggling with addiction, Mount Herbert is our only source of help and tools for recovery.
I want to help anyway I can, Rose. You can share my story with people so we can start to make awareness. Thank you so much for your support.