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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Putting a Face on the Heroin Epidemic; 5 Habit to Look for in Addiction

A Northern Kentucky Native, Amber, is outing the habits of a person addicted to heroin. She has made the brave decision to put her face on this epidemic ripping through our region. If it can happen to a normal girl like her, it can happen to anyone.

Once my heroin addition took off, I became a completely different person. I didn't know who I was anymore, and neither did my friends and family. I, like any heroin addict, became a liar, a cheat, and a thief. My sole purpose became getting high as often as possible, even if that meant stealing and conning everyone in my life.   

I stole money, jewelry, checks. I panhandled, and made friends and family feel sorry for me so they would give me money. I became a very creative liar also.

One night I was so high that I wrecked my car into a guardrail then walked home. When the police showed up I told them that while I was driving I sneezed, jerking the wheel, which caused me to wreck. And that I left the scene because I was scared. I was so convincing that the cops believed me. My mom on the other hand, saw right through my lie.            

Basically the point of me sharing my story is to let people know that this addiction can happen to anyone. It does not discriminate. And also to reveal the secrets of an addict, signs to look for.

#1) First and foremost if your gut tells you something is just not right, then more then likely it isn't. But don't mistake your gut feeling and what your head may be telling you. Sometimes my head tells me I'm just paranoid, that person isn't using, but deep down my gut is saying that, yes, they are. Nine times out of ten my gut is right.

#2) When I was getting high I always came up with random reasons to stop by my grandparents’ house or my parents’ house. I would slip away to the restroom or to the kitchen to get a drink. But really I was looking for prescriptions or money or items to pawn. I even knew where to step in each room so that the floor wouldn't creek.  If I couldn't find anything "good", I would make up a story about needing money for a bill or something. I even bought a receipt book so I could make fake receipts.      

#3) Another secret is listen to their voice. It changes.  My mom could tell if I was high by my laugh. I'm not really sure how, but she said it wasn't my same pure laugh I had always had. My family could tell by my diet. I didn't eat much but when I did it was all sugar. I would have a purse full of candy. They could also tell I was high if I had my red hat on. When I was high, I got lazy and never brushed my hair. I would just throw my hat on. Somehow my family took notice. To this day I still get "the look" if the red hat is brought up.

#4) I was never happy any more, and stopped doing the things I had always enjoyed. I stopped drawing and doing crafts. I stopped reading, and I stopped playing with my dog. I snapped at everyone, and stopped being friendly. I had a soulless look to me. My dad said that the sparkle had left my eyes.

#5) My family also took notice when I stopped being dependable. I wouldn't show up when I said I would, or I was always really late, or had to leave early.  I always had some excuse, and it was always someone else's fault. I could never take responsibility for any thing. And if I didn't have an excuse my answer was always "I don't know". 

These are just so small signs or habits to look for. But like I said, go with your gut, because it's probably right.


  1. Spot on! Thank you for sharing this. I wish my close ones or family could have seen this a very long time ago. It takes some major stones to break the silence and I commend you for that. Sadly, this drug has a firm grip on the whole country and the ones we love. Keep up the good work, I'm on day 201 myself. We need more people to break the silence so that the ones in this grip don't feel as taboo about it as they do. thanks

  2. Amber, your bravery in putting a face on this issue is so important. I'm not sure if you hear this enough, but PLEASE KEEP THIS UP.

    Legislators and officials and newspapers can keep harping but this kind of testimonial is the best out there. For my family, who has been affected by this, this truly speaks to us.

    You are doing a great thing. Thank you.

  3. Thank you for your Honesty. Having people see us as normal people before the hig and durring tringto cover up is gravly important! You were on point on those points you described and I am proud of your bravery to tell your story!
    You big friend
    Lloyd W.

  4. This can happen to ANYONE. Wake UP PEOPLE! Thank you, Amber. Thank you Ft. Thomas Matters.

  5. Amber,
    Your story is so encouraging. God bless you for your strength to follow through, and your courage to tell your story.
    Hopefully, this will urge people to understand that more help is needed in treatment and rehabilitation, rather than just locking these poor souls up.
    Thank you, Amber, and many blessings on your new journey.
    Deb Sheldon

  6. I am writing this comment to also commend you. I just experienced knowledge that my daughter was also hooked on heroin. My daughter is 29 years old. The past 5 yrs have been miserable to say the least. I would have NEVER thought this was what was going on until I saw the evidence on her arms! I knew something was not right and kept asking. Finally, last year she told me that she had a gambling problem. I believed that. As it turned out, she had a heroin problem and that is what was wrong with her. She is working on over 60 days sober and each day is a DAY. A real day with real people, feeling, etc. I am blessed to have her in my life and we both are working to keep it that way

  7. About three years ago I got to know one of my best friends ever. As time went on, not only did we grow closer but so did our families. So her brother became like my brother and the rest of her family as well. But the person that really sold my heart was her brother's daughter. She was a year old and just the cutest thing in the world but little did we know what kind of hell this child was about to face. Or what kind of hell we all were about to face. When she was only three years old she lost her father, my best friend's brother to this drug called heroin. So now he have a wonderful little girl that has never really known her mother and has now lost the only parent she has ever know, her father. You see he just couldn't stay clean. No matter what we did or what anyone said the drug just had a stronger hold on him than what we could get. My friend has his daughter now and will take care of her forever. It just saddens me so much every time this precious little girl ask me for her daddy and if he is ever coming back from heaven. Please if you are reading this and are hooked on drugs do whatever you can to get and stay clean. Thank you Amber we need more people to do the hard work like you have done.